Migrating Genders presents a sustained description of male-to-female transgendered identities, explaining how the fa'afafine fit within the wider gender system of Samoa, and examining both the impact of Westernization on fa'afafine identities and lives, and the experiences of fa'afafine who have migrated to New Zealand. Informed by theories of sex, gender and embodiment, this book explores the manner in which the expression and understanding of non-normative gendered identities in Samoa problematizes dominant western understandings of the relationship between sex and gender. Drawing on rich empirical material, this book tells of both the diversity and the uniqueness of fa'afafine identities, aspects which fa'afafine have maintained in the face of Westernization, migration, and cultural marginalization in both Samoa and New Zealand. As such, in addition to anthropologists, it will be of interest to geographers, sociologists, and other readers with interests in gender and sexuality.
Table of Contents
(Re)defining fa'afafine: the discursive construction of Samoan trangenderism. Ideals of gender: Men, women and fa'afafine in fa'aSamoa. Paradise lost? Social change and fa'afafine in Samoa. 'You hardly see any grown men doing that sort of thing over here': Fa'afafine migrants' initial experiences of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Reconciling femininity with palagi identities: Gay fa'afafine men and passing fa'afafine women. Maintaining ambiguity: (re)claiming fa'afafine identities in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Johanna Schmidt is a honorary research fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
'Migrating Genders offers a sophisticated account of the promises and perils of using "transgender" to frame the encounter between categories of sexuality and genders originating within Eurocentric modernity, and forms of personhood originating elsewhere - a welcome contribution to the burgeoning field of transnational transgender studies.' Susan Stryker, Indiana University, USA 'Migrating Genders is a subtle and insightful analysis of fa’afafine in Samoan society. Drawing upon multisited ethnographic and historical research, Schmidt brings together analyses of tradition and globalization to explore the fa’afafine subjectivity in Samoa, understood as an island and a community of transnational migration. This book will be valuable to scholars and activists with interests in Pacific Studies, as well as studies of sexuality, migration, and globalization.' Tom Boellstorff, University of California, Irvine, USA