DISSERTATION: Can the Maquiladora Worker Speak? by Dr. Judy Rosenberg

Judy Rosenberg takes notes at CFO workshop with women in the maquiladoras in Ciudad Acuña.

Judy takes notes in Acun?a


On March 8, 2015, International Women’s Day, Judy Rosenberg ended her struggle with lung cancer.  She was a founding member of this organization and of the ally group Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera (ATCF).  Although she would leave her physical body Judy’s indomitable spirit for justice and for defense of the human right to dignity for all, lives on in the ongoing production by ATCF of the educational weekend delegation to the border to learn about and see the human impact of globalization on maquiladora workers’ lives.   It was at the border and in the human connection with maquiladora workers, whom she greatly admired for their courage to fight for justice in the workplace,  that Judy focused on for her dissertation project at the University of Texas at Austin.  Beginning around 2000 she made her trips to the border fruitful opportunities for note-taking, conversation and experience intended to support her Ph.D. project in Rhetoric.   She would finally earn her Ph.D. from the University of Texas English Department in 2006.

Judith or Hoodeet, the phonetic spelling for how Mexican workers pronounced her name, produced a brilliant dissertation that allows the reader to experience the lives of the border workers she met who were members of the Mexican working classes dramatically impacted when their government signed on in 1992 with the U.S. and Canada to the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Through their stories she brings to life their struggles to invoke the power of the Mexican labor law to protect them against sexual harassment, wage theft, toxicity in time-pressured working conditions and brutal disciplinary tactics delivered by supervisors in the global factories known as maquiladoras.   The written byproduct of Judy’s smartness, compassion and brilliant writing is a dissertation that combines theory about globalization with heartfelt narrative — in her words she intended to “foreground and feature another voice, a counter argument or balance to the official theorizers of globalization. That voice belongs to the maquiladora workers.”

Judy’s dissertation  is available here for download.



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