“Gendered “Illegal” Migration from Morocco to Spain: Transnational Literature’s Representation of Female Clandestinity in the Age of Globalization”

Author Name

Jyhene Kebsi

Author Address

The University of Sydney, Department: English, Email: [email protected]


illegal immigration, female migrants, globalization, left behinds


My paper will illuminate the plights of the women who live on the southern shore of the Mediterranean under theantagonistic forces of globalization according to which the free movement of capital between both Europe and North Africa is matched by a criminalization of immigrants from the southern bank. My analysis of the discrepancy between the borderless economics and the bordered movement of people will explore the representation of female illegal immigration in transnational literature, mainly Laila Lalami's Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, which describes paperless immigration from Morocco to Spain. My study of the "crimmigration" of immigrants that occurs in the oceanic space painted in the novel will accentuate the unbridged chasm between North Africa and Southern European countries, highlighting that Third Worldness and femaleness constrain Moroccan women to the territorial map in which they were born even when they suffer from destitution and sexism.

As such, this essay will probe the intersection of gender and political economy in the lives of both the illegal female border-crossers and the migrants’ wives who are left in the countries of origin. It will investigate their struggle with patriarchy and immigration restrictions. I will read female clandestine immigration as an attempt to construct defiant identities that resist the glocal masculine and geopolitical dictates. The second part of the essay will probe the junction of gender and economics in the lives of the women left behind. My investigation of the hardships endured by these wives and of their desire to live with their partners will divulge that immigration torments those women who stay in the homeland as much as it afflicts the spouses who sneak to “Hopeland” (Obi 115). My main argument will be that Moroccan women have to strive against both the contradictions induced by globalization and the subordination generated by male domination. 


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