On the Pitt BookShelf

Issue Date: 
February 25, 2008

Faith Adiele Coedits Anthology About Coming of Age

Featuring an array of voices from every continent, Coming of Age Around the World: A Multicultural Anthology (New Press, 2007) chronicles the struggle for identity among young people around the globe. Faith Adiele, an assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of English, served as the coeditor of the anthology, a collection of 24 stories.

Contributing writers to the collection include luminaries Ben Okri and Chang-rae Lee, as well as recent best-selling authors Marjane Satrapi and Alexandra Fuller. Coming of Age Around the World is divided into six sections: Displaced Childhood, In the Shadow of War, Meeting the Other, School Days, Self-Discovery, and Family. The diverse stories range from humorous tales of dealing with the difficulties of growing up in a mixed Sioux and White family to accounts of losing close family members in concentration camps. Adiele contributes a memoir within the Family section about her life as the only Black member of her Nordic/Nigerian American family.

Adiele was raised in a small farming community in Washington State and attended Harvard University. Soon after leaving Harvard, she traveled to Southeast Asia, where she became the first Black Buddhist nun of Thailand. Her memoir of this experience, Meeting Faith (W.W. Norton & Co., 2005), received the PEN Beyond Margins Award for Best Memoir of 2005. She also is the subject and narrator of the PBS documentary My Journey Home, which chronicles her travels through her ancestral homeland of Nigeria.

Adiele was recently listed in Marie Claire magazine as one of the Five Women To Learn From. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Southeast Asian studies from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, a master’s degree in creative writing from Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass., and Master of Fine Arts degrees from the University of Iowa in fiction and nonfiction writing.

Her work has been anthologized in such books as Names We Call Home: Autobiography on Racial Identity (Routledge, 1995), Men We Cherish: African American Women Writing about Men (Doubleday, 1997), and A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the Globe (Seal Press, 2001).
—By Anthony M. Moore

Constable Updates Stories of Asian Domestic Workers in Second Edition of Book

As middle-class Chinese women have entered the Hong Kong work force in unprecedented numbers over the past two decades, the demand for foreign domestic workers has soared.
Approximately 150,000 individuals now serve two-year contracts, and the vast majority are women from the Philippines. University of Pittsburgh Professor Nicole Constable tells their stories in the recently released second edition of her 1997 book, Maid to Order in Hong Kong (Cornell University Press).

In this second edition, Constable, a professor of anthropology and associate dean of graduate studies and research at Pitt, focuses on the many significant changes that have taken place in Asia over the course of the last decade. Using such events as the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s and the SARS outbreak of 2002 as a backdrop, Constable interweaves the individual stories of women with her social analysis of Asia’s political, economic, and ethnic infrastructure.

Constable received her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. Her geographical areas of specialization are China (with a focus on Hong Kong), and the Philippines. She also is the editor of Cross-border Marriages: Gender and Mobility in Transnational Asia (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005) and the author of Christian Souls and Chinese Spirits (University of California Press, 1994), Romance on a Global Stage: Pen Pals, Virtual Ethnography, and “Mail Order” Marriages (University of California Press, 2003), and Guest People: Hakka Identity in China and Abroad (University of Washington Press, 2005).
—By Anthony M. Moore