McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, Hermeneutics, Textuality, Wives of International Students
Whereas concerns for international students frequently appear in existing literature, little attention is paid to wives of international students (WoIS). This study aims at describing and understanding lives of WoIS in the United States as sojourners in the margin. The research begins with a literature review and an examination of theoretical frames: from the cultural shock literature, acculturative stress literature, to atheoretical studies; and from cross-cultural psychology, cultural psychology, to indigenous psychology. Methodologically, this study is qualitative in nature, utilizing interview data from WoIS. In addition to a description and interpretation of the WoIS's narratives, the study also wrestles with how the stories are made to mean. As such, Silverman's (1994) textuality serves as methodological guide. Illustrative themes derived from a hermeneutic analysis include a change of the anchorage from self to the husband, loss and longing, having time/losing time, role negotiation, individuality/collectivity, embodied consciousness, and marginalization. An inter-textual reading that juxtaposes the narratives of participating WoIS and the literatures on theories of culture and gender is performed to interrogate textualities of culture and gender. Textualities of culture occur in multiple in- betweens: in-between culture as a variable and as a function, in-between thinking through and thinking beyond others, in-between the colonizer and the colonized (i.e. in the colonized condition), and in diaspora. In parallel, textualities of gender falls in the locus of in-between, residing at the hinge between material bodies and discursive bodies, between the power and the restraints of the formation of gendered body, in-between a discursive truth and fiction about gender, in-between subjecting and subjugation, and between the essentialist and radical constructionist views of gender. The multiple textualities of culture and gender are what make the lives of WoIS and differential representations of their cultural and gender ascription a la their narratives comprehensible and sensible. The contribution of this study is to provide descriptive narratives of the lives of the WoIS from their point of view, simultaneously, to offer a space where culture and gender ascriptions of WoIS can be thought otherwise, such that a fuller understanding and the various readings of WoIS remain comprehensible.
Chiang, M. (2014). Sojourning in the Margin: Living as Wives of International Students (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/400