Coordinator: Prof. K. Subramaniam, Dr. Tathagata Sengupta and Ms. Jayasree Subramanian
Coordinator: Prof. G. Nagarjuna
Coordinator: Prof. Sugra Chunawala
Prof. Pallavi Banerjee, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, Canada
Drawing on intersectionality theory, I examine how U.S. visa policies shape the informal self-employment experiences of Indian women and men who migrated to the U.S. on “dependent visas” to accompany their highly skilled spouses on temporary work visas. Dependent visa policy prohibits employment for the visa holders for a period that can last from six to twenty years. Despite this only a handful of those on dependent visas pursued informal self-employment in my sample, of which four were men and eight were women. This paper focuses on the self-employed dependent spouses and their experiences with self-employment, particularly their choice of businesses and the role of self-employment in their lives as dependents. I conclude that the complexities of the experiences of self-employment for my research participants are embedded in the intersections of their gender, class, race and immigration status. This in turn leads to self-employment becoming inadvertent acts of subversion.
Dr. Pallavi Banerjee is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Calgary. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from University of Illinois, Chicago in 2012 and then held a postdoctoral fellowship at Vanderbilt University in the U.S. Her research interests are situated at the intersection of sociology of immigration, gender and feminist theory, racialization, transnational labor and minority families. Prof. Banerjee’s research on the H-4 visa played a critical role in the Obama Administration’s reformulation of those rules. She is currently finishing her book manuscript tentatively entitled: Dismantling Dependence: Gendered Migrations and Intersectional Visa Regimes (contracted with New York University Press) that explores how immigration policies and visa regimes of United States affect male-led and female led immigrant families of Indian professional workers in the U.S. This research won several awards in its early stages. Prof. Banerjee has also published in journals like the American Behavioral Scientist, Sociological Forum, and Contexts among others.