Pacific Geographies (Sep 2022)

Micronesian conceptions of home and gender in Chuuk and the US: Between the presence of absent islanders and island imaginaries abroad 

  • Josealyn Eria,
  • Rebecca Hofmann,
  • Sarah A. Smith

Journal volume & issue
no. 58
pp. 11 – 18


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Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), represents a space altered by transnational migration, reshaping the social lives of both those who enact their mobility and those who stay. While transnationalism has been explored in-depth from the perspective of those abroad, little work has juxtaposed them with how migration reshapes life back “home.” Considering the presence of absent islanders for those who remain in Chuuk and the idealized imagery of those same islands by women living in the US, this paper explores how conceptions of those “home” and “abroad” belong to a liminal and transformational space. Migrants and the families left behind negotiate land tenure, family relationships and obligations, gender norms, and Chuukese identity from differing and fluid perspectives. This manuscript explores how contemporary forms of gendered Chuukese social life are both shifting and reinforced in this transnational context.