Helen Lee

Helen Lee is Professor of Anthropology at La Trobe University in Melbourne. Since her first book, Becoming Tongan: An Ethnography of Childhood (1996, as H. Morton), she has published widely on migration and transnationalism and on Tongan history and society. This includes the ANU Press publication Migration and Transnationalism: Pacific Perspectives (2009, with Steve Tupai Francis)

Mobilities of Return »

Pacific Perspectives

Edited by: John Taylor, Helen Lee
In recent decades, the term ‘mobility’ has emerged as a defining paradigm within the humanities. For scholars engaged in the multidisciplinary topics and perspectives now often embraced by the term Pacific Studies, it has been a much more longstanding and persistent concern. Even so, specific questions regarding ‘mobilities of return’—that is, the movement of people ‘back’ to places that are designated, however ambiguously or ambivalently, as ‘home’—have tended to take a back seat within more recent discussions of mobility, transnationalism and migration. This volume situates return mobility as a starting point for understanding the broader context and experience of human mobility, community and identity in the Pacific region and beyond. Through diverse case studies spanning the Pacific region, it demonstrates the extent to which the prospect and practice of returning home, or of navigating returns between multiple homes, is a central rather than peripheral component of contemporary Pacific Islander mobilities and identities everywhere.

Migration and Transnationalism »

Pacific Perspectives

Edited by: Helen Lee, Steve Tupai Francis
Pacific Islanders have engaged in transnational practices since their first settlement of the many islands in the region. As they moved beyond the Pacific and settled in nations such as New Zealand, the U.S. and Australia these practices intensified and over time have profoundly shaped both home and diasporic communities. This edited volume begins with a detailed account of this history and the key issues in Pacific migration and transnationalism today. The papers that follow present a range of case studies that maintain this focus on both historical and contemporary perspectives. Each of the contributors goes beyond a narrowly economic focus to present the human face of migration and transnationalism; exploring questions of cultural values and identity, transformations in kinship, intergenerational change and the impact on home communities. Pacific migration and transnationalism are addressed in this volume in the context of increasing globalisation and growing concerns about the future social, political and economic security of the Pacific region. As the case studies presented here show, the future of the Pacific depends in many ways on the ties diasporic Islanders maintain with their homelands.