On April 12, 2018, Valerie Francisco-Menchavez, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University, delivered a lecture at Abrams Lounge in the Center for Community at CU Boulder with over forty students and faculty in attendance. Her visit was part of a tour to promote her new book The Labor of Care: Filipina Migrants and Transnational Families in the Digital Age released by University of Illinois Press.
Francisco-Menchavez’s lecture, “Skype Mothers and Facebook Daughters: How Technology is Transforming Transnational Families” examined the use of communication technologies by Filipino labor migrants and their children. Drawing on five years of ethnographic research, she presented scenes of everyday life where these families, whose mothers live in New York and whose children live in Manila, utilized Skype, Facebook, and other technologies to manage “caring from a distance.”
Francisco-Menchavez argued that even though these new mediums of communication allowed transnational Filipino families to craft new forms of intimacy and new definitions of family, the “visuality, frequency, and access to one another’s digital lives” that defined these technologies also presented new complications for family life.
Ultimately, Francisco-Menchavez’s lecture provided a complex account of the dynamics of intimacy and distance that define the lives of contemporary transnational families. As part the Center for Asian Studies 2017-2018 Seminar Series, this lecture offered insight into the circuits of care that structure the Asian diaspora.
The event was also co-sponsored by Department of Sociology, Department of Women and Gender Studies, and Program for Writing and Rhetoric at CU Boulder and was organized in partnership with the CU Denver Department of Ethnic Studies.