Doctoral Dissertation Defense, by Julia Meszaros
UNIVERSITY GRADUATE SCHOOL BULLETIN ANNOUNCEMENT
Florida International University
University Graduate School
Doctoral Dissertation Defense
Racialized Sexualities within the Romance Tour Industry: the influence of Affects and Emotions upon Transnational Hierarchies of Desire
by Julia Meszaros
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the global online dating industry at large generated over 2 billion dollars in profits. Online international introduction sites that offer romance tours to American men in search of a foreign bride are an important and rapidly growing component of the internet dating industry; the number of these agencies in the U.S. tripled from two hundred to six hundred in the past 10 years, and these agencies doubled their incomes in that same time period. Previous scholars have examined the so-called ‘mail order bride’ industry in order to demonstrate that the women involved are agents and not victims. Many scholars have also highlighted the importance of race in shaping American men’s desires in one particular region or country. My dissertation provides an important addition to the literature surrounding romance tourism by including participants from all three major regions associated with romance tourism: Eastern Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia. I collected the data for the dissertation by becoming a participant observer of a romance tour in Ukraine, Colombia, and the Philippines. I conducted 93 in depth interviews with American men, women in each tour country, and local employees of the tour agency, A Foreign Affair, in each country.
I argue that romance tourism is an important example of the global intimate, and the ways in which globalized processes are created and sustained through everyday intimate emotions and interactions.. The concept of the global intimate challenges the hierarchy of scale that places the body, the home, and the intimate on a much lower level than the scale of the global or the national, and at the same time challenges the binary that divides the individual from the global. Through highlighting the different emotional negotiations that are constantly occurring in the romance tour industry, we can begin to see the important ways in which individual emotions and affects influence global processes on a large scale and vice versa.
Department: Global & Sociocultural Studies
Major Professor: Vrushali Patil
Date: June 24th, 2014
Location: SIPA 502/503