I ate dinner at the library, rode home, tried to begin work again and realised I couldn’t concentrate until I made a cake. A semolina syrup cake with orange blossom water and coconut milk, to be exact. Rather an experiment, but we shall see. (The coconut milk is in the cake, not the syrup.)
I’m working on a draft of my final thesis chapter, which is also a book chapter due very soon, and have had my head in gendered and postcolonial theorisations of affective labour all day. I’m reading some fantastic books on migration and gendered labour, such as Rhacel Parreñas’ Servants of Globalization, an ethnography of Filipino/a migrant women, most of whom do domestic work. On the other hand, Parreñas focuses on the familial and resistant practices of her informants outside of the workplace, and what I need right now is writing on gendered and racialised subjective relationships within workplaces. Never mind, it’s a great book and well worth the read.
Today in the Reserve shelves I also randomly found a really awesome critique of the political economy of Thai sex work, Thanh-Dam Truong’s Sex, Money and Morality. Truong talks a lot about women’s ‘emotional labour’ in the context of tourism. I’m not writing about sexwork, but I do draw a parallel between sexwork and the new Thai health tourism economy — this latter is a less explicity sexual economy, to be sure, but it still draws on the same repackaging of ‘traditional’ Thai femininity and requires workers to perform that traditional femininity. Truong’s marxist politics are spot-on, and it’s from 1990, predating any post-autonomist writing on affective labor. This feels like hitting the jackpot, just a little, as if the library was in a good mood and decided to give me a present. I should hang out in the library Reserve section more often.