Agency Dependency & Transnational Circulation between Oceania & Pacific Rimlands

September 6, 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Mānoa Campus, History Department Library, 2530 Dole Street, Sakamaki Hall A201 Add to Calendar

David Chappell
Associate Professor of History
University of Hawai`i at Mānoa

Migration has been a historical reality in Oceania since the first peopling of its archipelagos thousands of years ago. From early settlement and ongoing inter-island exchanges to more recent labor recruiting for foreign ships and plantations to the airborne movement of Pacific Islanders today to new frontiers of opportunity stretching from Australia to Oklahoma and beyond, it has posed challenges for scholarly interpretation. Is contemporary migration a sign of economic dependency or indigenous agency or a combination, as the MIRAB (migration, remittances, aid and bureaucracy) acronym suggests? Or perhaps, as Epeli Hau`ofa argued, it’s a sign of continuity with ancestral voyaging traditions? It also raises questions of identity as Pacific Islanders growing up overseas try to connect with homelands and cultures/languages they may not know personally, and in some cases the majority of the “nation” takes up residence overseas, creating new political influences. This presentation will raise such issues, suggest how some scholars have grappled with them, and invite the audience to voice their own opinions, because, to paraphrase a Samoan proverb, migration as a topic of study is like “a slippery fish.”

Event Sponsor
History, Mānoa Campus

More Information
Suzanna Reiss, 808-956-6768,

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