Prior to teaching at U of A, I
taught anthropology and women's studies at the University of
Northern B.C. Prior to that I taught at the Wilp Wilxo'oskwhl
Nisga'a [Nisga'a House of Learning] and at the Ontario Midwifery
Education Programme. I was also Interim Coordinator of the Northern
Secretariat of the BC Centre of Excellence for Women's Health.
Background: I have come to the University of Hawai'i
from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada,
where I was an assistant professor and Associate Director for
Health Research at the Canadian Circumpolar Institute. I
specialize in medical and feminist anthropology, and have done
research in Polynesia and Canada.
My applied work with the Midwifery Task Force in both Ontario and
B.C., and my teaching experience in the Ontario Midwifery Education
Programme led to an appointment in 1997 to executive of the
first Board of the College of Midwives of B.C., which started
registering midwives in 1998.
Interests: I am fascinated by how a society's systems for
treating disease and suffering, and for producing professional
healers and helpers, is predicated by and acts to represent and
replicate patterned aspects of culture, power and social structure.
Thus I am very interested in the intersection between western
biomedicine and modernity.
My current research in Polynesia focusses on the first indigenous
Pacific islanders to study Western medicine, and the imbrications
of the colonial agenda, power, Rousseauean romanticism,
pragmatism, sexism, racism and modernity that characterized Pacific
islanders' first exposure to, and interest in, medical practices. At
present, my project is focussed on Tongans who have studied
medicine. The research is ethnographic but includes archival
research in Fiji and the United Kingdom. Of particular interest are
records pertaining to the Suva Medical School and the Central
Medical School, the institutions which evolved into the Fiji School
of Medicine, where many Tongans received medical training.
Past research in the Kingdom of Tonga examined the
intersections of women's work, cultural constructions of
health and mothers' child care practices. Surprisingly, a key aspect
in the everyday construction of health is the production and gifting
of women's 'cloth' wealth.
In Canada, I have conducted research on perceptions of risk among
sport fishers for Health Canada. I have also been an active
proponent in the emergence of the newest primary health care
Areas of interest: Medical and feminist anthropology,
culture and health,medicine and modernity; health professionals;
n.d. Pushing Children UP: Maternal Obligation, Modernity and
Medicine in the Tongan Ethnoscape. Forthcoming in Pacific Island
Societies in a Global World, edited by Victoria Lockwood,
Englewood cliffs, Prentice-Hall Publishers.
2001 Understanding Differences and Similarities. In
Ethnographic Essays in Cultural Anthropology; A Problem Based
Approach. Morrison, R. Bruce and C. Roderick Wilson (eds).
Itasca, F.E. Peacock Publishers (Co-authored).
2000 Fosterage in Oceania. Routledge International
Encyclopedia of Women's Studies. Cheris Kramarae and Dale
Spender, Eds. New York N.Y. Routledge. (Expected December
1999 Considering the Impact of Gender in Tongan Whaling: A
Framework for Evaluation and Suggestions for Maximizing Benefits to
Women. Issues in Indigenous Whaling: Tonga, World Council of
Whalers. M. Freeman, Editor.
1999 Inventing Health: Tradition, Textiles and Maternal
Obligation in the Kingdom of Tonga. Unpublished dissertation, 407
pages, York University.
1998 The Anthropologist, The Mother And The Cross-cultured Child:
Lessons in The Relativity Of Cultural Relativity. In
Families in the Field: Constructing Ethnographic
Identities. Juliana Flinn, Leslie Marshall, and Jocelyn
Armstrong Eds., Honolulu, University of Hawai'i Press.
1996 Flexibility and Preparation: Keys to Good Fieldwork. In
Instead of Full Stops. Susan Sellers, Ed. London U.K., The
Women's Press.(Peer Reviewed)