M Jean Mitchell
M Jean Mitchell
Sociology and Anthropology
SDU Main Building 516
Island Scholar:
Island Scholar Biography

Professor, Anthropology; UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability

BA (UPEI); MA (Carleton); MA, PhD (York)

Interested in the relationship between theory and ethnography, Dr. Mitchell has lived for extended periods of time in Indonesia, India and in the South Pacific nations of Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. In India and Solomon Islands she worked for the United Nations in health and urban development programs, while, in Kiribati, gender and fisheries were the subject of a year-long collaborative study. In Vanuatu, extended fieldwork in urban settlements culminated in the creation of the Vanuatu Young People’s Project at the Vanuatu Cultural Centre. In this ongoing project young people are trained in research, advocacy and video production. These interests are present in her present work with a youth project in Hillsborough, Prince Edward Island.

Central to her academic work has been innovative ethnography that privileges collaborative approaches, promotes indigenous researchers and foregrounds the perspectives of gender and youth.

Her recent research on Tonkinese indentured labourers in (New Hebrides) Vanuatu, examines the connections between memory and ethnography, while her SSHRC-funded project entitled “Working Flash, Youth, Labour and Mobility in Vanuatu,” explores various engagements with modernity. Most recently she has edited a book on L. M. Montgomery, through which she has pursued her interest in ideas of place and narration.

Research Interests
  • Women
  • Melanesia
  • Urbanization
  • Colonialism

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