Pre WAC-2023 Online Lecture Series
KISS-DU Organizes Lecture on ‘Finding the Invisible: An Ethnography of Women’s Work in Mexico’s Seafood Industry.’

The KISS School of Anthropological Sciences (KSAS), in partnership with the United Indian Anthropology Forum (UIAF), and collaboration with the Departments of Anthropology Utkal University, University of Delhi, and Sambalpur University, organized the fourth Pre WAC-2023 Distinguished Invited Online Lecture Series (PDIOLS#4) on 30th October 2021 on the topic: ‘Finding the Invisible: An Ethnography of Women’s Work in Mexico’s Seafood Industry.’ Dr. Maria L. Cruz, Associate Professor, Transborder Studies at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, USA, was the speaker. Dr Cruz is a cultural anthropologist, with a specialization in political ecology; the impact of globalization on local communities and households; gender and work; gender, sustainability, and the environment; migration and food systems. Faculty members and research scholars across the state and country attended this online lecture.

In his welcome address, Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice-Chancellor, KISS-DU felicitated Dr. Cruz and introduced her to the audience. Prof Behera outlined the background of the upcoming World Anthropology Congress in 2023 and mentioned the highlights of the previous three lectures organized under the series. He also made a few preliminary comments on the topic of Dr. Cruz’s lecture.

In her lecture, Dr. Maria L. Cruz focused on the hardships faced by the women engaged in the shrimp processing industry in Mexico. She cited references from her research and made a very insightful observation that gender imbalance is the chief factor of socio-economic inequality suffered by women. Dr. Cruz gave a revealing account of the professional practices, challenges and hardship women faced because of their limited resources and lack of social security in the informal sector of the seafood industry. Economic depression and lack of job opportunities have driven women to the seafood industry only to languish in perpetual hardship and distress. Women work hard and substantially contribute to the economy of the home by paying the tuition fees of children and buying houses for their families, and yet they remain “invisible” as non-entities.  Dr Cruz, in her presentation, underlined the fact that the region under her study is male-dominated, and women struggle to survive. She concluded her lecture by advocating for framing public policies so that women feel safe in society.

Professor Arun Kumar Acharya, Department of Anthropology, Sambalpur University, summed up the lecture and Er. Atul Nag, Associate Professor, KISS-DU, moderated the Question and Answer Session. Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice-Chancellor, KISS-DU, proposed the vote of thanks.