Rhacel Salazar Parreñas is Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California. She previously taught at University of Wisconsin, Madison, University of California, Davis, and Brown University. Her areas of research include labor, gender, international migration and human trafficking, the family and economic sociology.
She is an ethnographer who has conducted field work in Denmark, Italy, Japan, Philippines, Singapore and United Arab Emirates. Her research examines the experiences of migrant workers from the Philippines with a particular focus in the last decade on “hard to reach populations.” While her earlier works examined the constitution of gender in women’s migration and transnational families, her last two projects have sought to document and examine the experiences of migrant workers identified by the U.S. Department of State as victims of human trafficking. Her current project focuses on the “unfree labor” of migrant domestic workers in Dubai and Singapore. This study examines their experience of indenture and identifies and analyzes how various stakeholders — states, non-governmental advocacy institutions, recruitment agencies, employers and domestic workers – recognize and accordingly attend to their state of unfreedom.
Professor Parreñas has given keynote and named lectures on the themes of care work, gender, migration, and methodology across the globe in Australia, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. She has co-edited three anthologies and has written five monographs as well as numerous peer-reviewed articles. She has received research funding from the Ford Foundation, Fulbright, Rockefeller Foundation, and National Science Foundation, and fellowship invitations from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. Her writings have been translated into Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Polish, Korean, and Japanese. She has participated in review panels for the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program and Fulbright.
She is a former member of the university-wide tenure and promotions committee at Brown University and USC.