Steven McKay
Department of Sociology
End-of-Year Fellowship Report for 2003-04

My time as a fellow was extremely stimulating and particularly productive. My release time helped me sift, organize, and analyze the interview, primary and secondary data I collected over the summer during fieldwork in the Philippines. It also allowed me to engage the theoretical literature on the geographies of migration, transnationalism, labor markets and masculinities that have all contributed to my deeper understanding of the historical emergence and contemporary character of the Filipino ethnic labor niche in global seafaring.

Over the course of two semesters, I have been able to incorporate a more historical approach and pay much closer attention to issues of sexuality and gender, geographic scales, and narrative strategies that were a direct result of interactions with other fellows and with invited speakers in our invaluable cross-disciplinary seminars. 

From work conducted during my fellowship, I have produced two complete papers for publication, both currently under review at international peer-reviewed journals. I was invited to give two talks specifically about my fellowship-related research, and have also presented papers on the fruits of my research at five different conferences this year.

Finally, my work as a fellow extended past the end of the semester, when I participated in a week-long workshop in economic geography to help further develop my ideas, and as a visiting researcher at the Seafarer International Research Center at Cardiff University, Wales in the summer of 2004.

invited lectures
“Racializing Empire: Filipinos in U.S. Navy and Merchant Marines,” Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Friday Forum Lecture Series, UW-Madison, Spring 2005.

“Transnationalism Afloat?” Global Studies colloquium, UWM Center for International Education, March 14, 2004.

Great Decisions 2004 Lecture Series (topic: the Philippines), Institute of World Affairs, three lectures and one television interview Febuary 9 & 10, 2004 in Milwaukee, Pewaukee, and Kenosha .

conference presentations
“Race, Masculinity and the Maritime Labor Market,” Social Science History Association Annual Conference, Chicago, November 18-21, 2004

“At Home on the Move: Filipino Seafarers and the Making of a Transnational Ethnic Niche,” American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, August 15, 2004.

"Filipino Sea Men: Constructing Masculinities in an Ethnic Labor Niche " at the Niches, Ethnicity and Gender Conference, Leiden University, the Netherlands, June 17, 2004.

"Long Distance Nationalism: Constructing Identity among Filipino Seafarers " at the 7th International Conference on Philippine Studies, Leiden University, the Netherlands, June 19, 2004.*

"Suspended Migrants, National Heroes: The Making of Filipino Seafarers," Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, March 4, 2004.

Competitively-selected participant in the week-long Summer Institute in Economic Geography at the University of Bristol, July 11-16, 2004.*

submissions for publication
"Filipino Sea Men: Constructing Masculinities in an Ethnic Labor Niche," Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, part of a special issue on migration, gender and labor niches, submitted September 2004.

“Suspended Migrants, Nationalist Heroes: The Making of Filipino Seafarers,” Ethnic and Racial Studies, submitted July 2004.

* financial support for participation provided by the Center for 21st Century Studies




Center for 21st Century Studies

Merry Wiesner-Hanks

Center for 21st Century Studies
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201 USA
tel: 414-229-4141; fax: 414-229-5964; email:


  Last updated 9/2/08 by RVD