Public lecture on women soldiers from Fiji to be held on November 8

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Katherine C. Higgins, (808) 956-2658
Outreach Director, Center for Pacific Islands
Posted: Nov 5, 2012

Teresia Teaiwa
Teresia Teaiwa

Dr. Teresia Teaiwa, Senior Lecturer and Program Director of Pacific Studies at Victoria University of Wellington will present a public lecture on Thursday, November 8, at 5:30 p.m. at UH Mānoa's Hālau o Haumea, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies. The lecture is free and open to the public.

In 2008-2010, Teaiwa conducted research and collected oral histories of women from Fiji who had served in either the British Army (BA) or Fiji Military Forces (FMF). The research was funded with a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden award and Victoria University of Wellington research and study leave grant. Teaiwa is currently completing her book manuscript on Fiji’s three generations of women soldiers: a British Army cohort from 1961, an FMF cohort from 1988, and a post-1998 cohort comprised by both BA and FMF recruitments.

In the broader context of trying to understand the cultural, economic, and political challenges raised by the extensive militarization of Fiji society since the 1970's and the disturbing cycle of military coups the country has experienced over the last twenty-five years, Teaiwa will describe how she has approached writing her book and how she has tried to empathize with her research participants while maintaining a critical analytical position vis-à-vis the military and militarism.

In a separate project, Teaiwa has also been writing poetry inspired by her research with women soldiers. The session will close with a reading of some of these poems as well as a poem by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner. Jetnil-Kijiner is from the Marshall Islands and graduated from Mills College with a BA in English. She is a poet, writer, performance artist, and journalist and has performed in the Marshall Islands, United States, and England.

Teaiwaʻs academic interests focus on nationalism and regionalism in the Pacific; articulations of culture and politics/indigenous rights and democracy/feminism in the Pacific; and Pacific Studies and pedagogy. Her current research is on the gendered dynamics of militarism in the Pacific.

The lecture is co-sponsored by the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, the Gladys Kamakakūokalani ‘Ainoa Brandt Chair, and Department of Women’s Studies. Dr. Teaiwa’s visit is sponsored by the Church of the Crossroads as part of the 2012 Watada Lecture.   

For additional information and disability access, please contact Katherine Higgins at (808) 956-2658.