Romance on a Global Stage: Pen Pals, Virtual Ethnography, and “Mail Order” Marriages


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“Nicole Constable has produced a splendid sequel to her much-praised “Maid to Order in Hong Kong. Constable’s sensitive ethnography and her international scope insures that we see every Filipino and Chinese woman as a thinking, feeling person, and every American man who is her pen pal and sometimes future husband as far more than a mere cartoon character. “Romance on a Global Stage wonderfully complicates the genderings and globalizings of power and emotions.”–Cynthia Enloe, author of “Bananas, Beaches and Bases “The rise of feminism in North America has been paralleled by a growth in marriages between Western men and women from the global periphery. Constable’s fascinating study explores the multiple desires at work, revealing the anti-feminist reason and feminist surprises in these global romances.”–Aihwa Ong, author of “Buddha Is Hiding: Refugees, Citizenship, the New America”Constable adds a new map to the cartographies of desire in this nuanced and fresh account of ‘mail-order marriage.’ Her original work carefully attends to emotion, sex, and political economy, offering a complex account of gender, marriage, and globalization.”–Carole S. Vance, author of “Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality”This innovative and compassionate work maps new formations of desire in the context of globalization. Constable breaks through the stereotypes about transnational pen-pal marriages to enable us to see, in an ethnographically detailed way, how agency and desire are shaped by uneven economic development and how cyber-technologies figure in the production of new global imaginaries.”–Ann Anagnost, author of “National Past-times: Narrative, Representation, and Power inModern China”Constable is a talented and perceptive anthropologist who has mastered the use of the web both as a research tool and a topic of research. Her sensible and timely examination of transnational marriages of American men with women from the Philippines and China relentlessly debunks commonly-held tales about submissive (or manipulative) Asian women and wealthy (or abusive) American men.”–Jean-Paul Dumont, author of “Visayan Vignettes: Ethnographic Traces of a Philippine Island



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