The Housecleaner Project

The Housecleaner Project
2014 to 2016
Emerging Networks

Until the last decade or so, African-American and working-class white women cleaned the houses of the well-off in the American South. There has been a striking changeover in recent years. Thanks to the massive influx of Latin American migrants into North Carolina, Latinas have taken over much of the housecleaning business. The same thing has happened in other parts of the United States.

The Housecleaner Project focuses on the experience of Durham’s Latina housecleaners. These women work mostly in the shadows, and there has been surprisingly little research about them. The project brings together faculty, students, and the women themselves to explore the politics of immigration, gender, and labor. It will generate a traveling exhibit featuring the housecleaners’ stories. There is an activist dimension, as well, in the form of panels, op-eds and other outreach aimed at calling attention to the challenges housecleaners face: language barriers, poor wages and lack of benefits, and isolating work conditions, among others.


Leigh Campoamor
Teaching Fellow, International Comparative Studies Program
Sarah Deutsch
Professor of History
Diane Nelson
Eads Family Professor of Cultural Anthropology
Professor of Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Women's Studies
Liliana Paredes
Professor of the Practice of Romance Studies
Orin Starn
Professor and Chair of Cultural Anthropology


The Housecleaner Project on The State of Things
The Housecleaner Project on The State of Things
-- Feb 5 2015

On WUNC's The State of Things, Frank Stasio interviewed three Latina women involved in The... Read More