- Oceanian Journeys and Sojourns: Home Thoughts Abroad ed. by Judith A Bennett
Oceanian Journeys and Sojourns: Home Thoughts Abroad is a collection of essays edited by Judith A Bennett. Compiled in honor of Murray Chapman, these essays celebrate his students, friends, and colleagues who have gone on to enrich mobility studies of Pacific Islanders far beyond the purely economic and geographic analyses that once dominated the field. The book is divided into three parts, the first of which is focused on Chapman, his career, and his seminal contributions to Pacific studies and understandings of Pacific mobility. Part 2 focuses on Indigenous perspectives and experiences of movement in Sāmoa, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Solomon Islands. Part 3 is less concerned with Islander [End Page 567] mobility and is more focused on research in Oceania. In essence, the collection is a weaving of a theoretical genealogy concerning Oceanian movement. This is a genealogy that Chapman has profoundly contributed to and one that continues to grow while further incorporating and engaging Indigenous experiences and Indigenous methodologies.
In part 1, Bennett's introduction reviews Chapman's contributions to the study of Pacific mobility and thoroughly summarizes each of the featured essays. She explains how each of the collection's contributors is connected to Chapman and the ways in which each piece reflects his approaches to Pacific mobility. Bennett traces the evolution of Chapman's scholarship by acknowledging the academics that inspired and collaborated with him and by outlining his career from his master's research in the Solomons through the University of Auckland to his professorship at the University of Hawai'i. In the second chapter, David Gegeo, a former student of Chapman and now professor at the Solomon Islands National University, interviews Chapman, who describes his career and how he came to understand migration as culturally rooted, holistic, and circular. Chapman claims his skepticism for traditional demographic analysis of Pacific mobility, which focused solely on the economics of movement, began early in his research. After living in Tasimauri and listening to Pacific Islander perspectives on movement, he came to understand culture as a central element in mobility (49). This approach to migration studies is further expounded on in the essays that follow, each authored by either a former student or a close friend of Chapman.
Part 2 of the text begins with "Journeyings" by Sa'iliemanu Lilomaiava-Doktor, who explores how fa'a-Sāmoa (Samoan way of life or culture) informs Samoan understandings of movement. Lilomaiava-Doktor explains that through malanga—"the Samoan word for migration or . . . to travel back and forth or journeyings"—Samoans navigate both physical and social space (69). For example, mobility in the form of attending social gatherings is an expression of respect and a means of affirming belonging within an 'aiga (family) (78). She also argues that "social connections rather than geographic boundaries are central to Samoan conceptions of movement" (82). Therefore, movement across great distances that is done in culturally appropriate ways and that serves to enrich the 'aiga can strengthen rather than strain familial ties.
"Emic Understandings of Mobility," by Lola Quan Bautista, illuminates the ways in which culture and familial obligation affect the mobility of the people of Satowan Atoll, in the Federated States of Micronesia. Bautista, like Lilomaiava-Doktor, is deeply concerned with proper and improper forms of mobility, but Bautista more closely analyzes the role of gender in determining whether or not a person is negotiating their space appropriately (97). Asenati Liki's "Women as Kin" refutes the notion of teine uli (Samoan women whose ancestors were Melanesian plantation workers) as "mere labourer descendants with no cultural [End Page 568] identity" as well as the notion that work is solely a means for personal economic gain (157). Liki does this by delineating the ways in which teine uli have nurtured their Samoan familial connections across...