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FROM FAMILY PLANNING TO FAMILY REUNIFICATION 63 growing group of low-income immigrants. Recalling how representations of the new Indian woman echo Indian state discourses of nation-building that occlude non-modern or minority identities, new marginalities emerge within the diaspora. Family reunification laws and technical visas prioritize middleclass, educated and independent families over the laboring bodies of undocumented, uneducated immigrants in the United States. In addition to obscuring these more marginal immigrants, the position of non-working women in the Indian diaspora has been similarly muted in public discourses. South Asian American domestic violence advocates have been instrumental in bringing to light the dangers posed by the dependent visa status of women on H4 visas (Abraham 2000; Bhattacharjee 2002; Das Dasgupta 2005). Spouses on H4 visas, who are overwhelmingly women, are unable to be employed outside of the home and find their own visa status contingent on their relationship to the primary visa-holder. In situations of domestic violence, such a scenario can prove to be insurmountable for women seeking assistance in leaving violent marriages.

CONCLUSIONS I have argued that a transnational feminist perspective accounts for how actual policies and practices of nation-states are mediated through bodily processes, such as the reproduction of families. By looking at the emerging importance placed on the ideal Indian diasporic family, we can see how it is drawn from a set of discourses that shape what it means to be a developed subject in India. These discourses also appear in immigration policies intended to create desirable immigrants in the U.S. What these discourses do not reveal, however, are how the categories of difference such as class, gender, sexuality, and race mediate and shape this figure. Thus, reading social formations like the Indian diaspora in the context of policies and practices of both the home and host nations reminds us that the power of the state is far from diminishing. Instead, it seems that it continues to strengthen its role in creating new inequalities and maintaining old ones. In order to foreground how women’s bodies have become central to not just national discussions of development, but also to the definition of the modern citizen itself, I have discussed how reproduction and sexuality have figured into the project of controlling population. These subjects of modernity include the middle-class, urban, working woman who plans her two-child family, as well as the jet-setting diasporic woman, who comes to the United States as either as a wife or a high-tech worker. What these two figures obscure, however, are the range of identity formations that are occluded in the celebration of such gendered modernity

Sagar XVII — 2007  
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