Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Donald K. Robotham

Committee Members

Donald K. Robotham

Jacqueline Nassy Brown

John F. Collins

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Anthropology | Ethnic Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Geography | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Women's Studies


Oral histories, Diasporic Blackness, Class Identities, Afro-Caribbean, Immigration, Gendered Labor in the Service Sector


This dissertation examines the oral histories and personal narratives of Afro-Caribbean women who migrated to New York from 1961-2008 and explores how they articulate and negotiate multiple identities surrounding diasporic Blackness, class, and gender. This dissertation studies Afro-Caribbean women in the spaces they live namely, the Northeast Bronx, New York City, and Westchester and takes an interdisciplinary approach to theorize Afro-Caribbean women's experiences. Based on ethnographic research conducted over two and a half years, this study explores the challenges of Afro-Caribbean women working in the service sector who perform as: domestics, healthcare workers, retail workers, and food service workers and interrogates the complexity of their lives outside of the context of work to capture the fullness of their lives. By analyzing Afro-Caribbean women's lives, this ethnographic study reveals the myriad obstacles that Caribbean immigrant women have to navigate such as immigration issues, health issues, racialization in the work environment, domestic violence and sexual exploitation. The paths to migration through the service sector pipeline in the United States is not easy, and this project reflects the many ways Afro-Caribbean women and the men who share their lives perform and reconfigure new identities in order to survive.