Publication Date

Fall 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Chuck Darrah


California, Fiji Islands, Indo-Fijians, life-writings, U.S. Immigration, women

Subject Areas

Cultural anthropology; Women's studies; Ethnic studies


This study helps address gaps in knowledge concerning the lives of Indo-Fijian immigrant women in California and offers a space for their voices to be heard. The subsequent chapters investigate the lives of five Indo-Fijian immigrant women and their experiences upon migrating to Modesto, California. Using a qualitative research approach, data were collected through participant observations, semi-structured in-depth interviews and informal conversations. The data are presented as anthropological silhouettes, a form of life-writing (the recording of events and experiences of a life), which explores each individual woman’s experience with life in Fiji to her eventual migration and transition to life in California. The study reveals heterogeneity amongst the women’s experiences and perspectives as well as commonalities that arise in their collective experiences as Indo-Fijian immigrant women residing in the city of Modesto. Overall, the anthropological silhouettes reveal that migration has led to shifts in the women’s identities and their prescribed gender roles. Furthermore, despite some of the challenges that came with immigrating, the women have experienced social, political and economic mobility since arriving to California. All five women have accepted the United States as their adopted homeland, and as a result, have no plans of re-migrating to Fiji.