A few Filipina migrants in Kabalikat Domestic Workers Support Network (now MIGRANTE New York) would often joke that they lived in a place called, Queenila. Their feet in Queens, their hearts in Manila.
This place in-between, not here, nor there, elsewhere became a sticking point for me in my research for the #LaborofCare. I often wondered what it was like to live in this space, an imagined place in between but two global cities. An imagined geography that had so much materiality.
Turns out Queenila was’t just a space or place. It became the first of many lessons Filipina migrants would teach me about conducting qualitative research with them, not on them. Queenila was an intimate invitation to step into the lives of Filipina migrants and their families. It not only described their social realities but the word, the concept, the worth of Queenila was an insistence on centering their experiences as Filipina migrants and most importantly, always tethered to the experience of the families left behind. A truly transnational dynamic.
In my most recent publication, “Researching Queenila and Living In-Between: Multi-sited Ethnography, Migrant Epistemology and Transnational Families” in the Journal of Migration and Development, I write about how Queenila was at the crux of my research methodology. I insist on engaging migrant epistemology to deepen our understanding of transnationalism. You can find a free e-Print of the article here. And if you can’t access it, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org