Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Anthropology

Major Professor

Nancy Romero-Daza

Co-Major Professor

Heide Castañeda

Keywords

applied medical anthropology, gender and migration, Micronesia, public health, sexual and reproductive health

Abstract

Chuuk, one state of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), experiences significant transnational migration to the United States (U.S.), particularly to the Territory of Guam. This migration is facilitated by the Compact of Free Association (COFA), an agreement with several Micronesian countries previously under U.S. administration that allows for free movement of their citizens into the U.S. Although part of Micronesia, Guam's colonized residents resist an identity connected to rest of Micronesia. With very poor health outcomes, the Chuukese represent a political and social body of bodies that bring sickness, babies and increased costs to the Guam government without adequate compensation by their colonizer sanctioning the migration. In order to better understand why Chuukese women suffer disproportionately poor reproductive health outcomes as compared to the rest of Guam's residents, this multi-sited dissertation examines how Chuukese women's reproduction is constructed and conceptualized by women, their families, and their "home" and "host" communities, and how these meanings are mediated by transnational migrant experiences between Chuuk and Guam. Using a critical interpretive framework, this study utilized participant observation in the clinics and communities, interviews with health care workers, and in-depth life history interviews with fifteen Chuukese women. This dissertation situates Chuukese women's reproduction in the context of transnational migration through an analysis of social, economic and political processes, health and social services policies and practices, postcolonial migration and sociocultural meanings of reproduction for Chuukese women in both Chuuk and Guam.

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