Title: Fear and Loathing in Gringo Gulch: Gender, sexuality, and lifestyle migration
Description: This talk begins with a discussion of the key political, theoretical, and methodological ideas that inform my book, Gringo Gulch: Sex, tourism, and social mobility in Costa Rica. Focusing on the experiences of sex tourists, sex workers, and state employees, the book considers how the geopolitics of transnational tourism are played out in the embodied encounters of sex work and how the specific configurations of the sex industry in San José, Costa Rica are tied to a variety of local, national, and global processes. I then present the preliminary results of new research into the role that sexuality plays in the decision of some sex tourists to migrate to Costa Rica permanently. I ask how we might theorize the shift from tourist to migrant, considering the gendered dynamics involved in migration from north to south for a complex combination of affection, care, and sex. I argue that migration to Costa Rica for this group of men must be analyzed in terms of negotiations over class and masculine identities, intersecting with an interest in sexual access to younger, exoticized women. I explore the complex and uneven impact of migration on the class and ethnic identities and sexual practices of these migrants, focusing on their experiences of negotiating community and belonging in a city in the global South where they are simultaneously welcome and isolated.
Bio: Megan Rivers-Moore is assistant professor at the Pauline Jewett Institute of Women’s and Gender Studies at Carleton University. Her book, Gringo Gulch: Sex, tourism, and social mobility in Costa Rica, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2016.
Reception with food to follow in the WGSI Lounge.