Saddleback College Tonga Migration & Cathy Small Quote Questions Discussion

Disc. 4: Voyages Part 1 Departures

Voyages Part I: Discussion Questions

Objective: The purpose of this discussion is to start learning to critically read and write about ethnographic texts.


For this discussion board, you will have to post your original reply before you can read other people’s posts.

READ Part I (pg 3-49 ) of Voyages and answer the following questions on the discussion board. Start your thread with a descriptive title (for example, you could start your post with a title that is related to the theme of your discussion question. Since there is no subject box, make that title the first line of your post). Please paste your response directly into the text box (instead of attaching a file). When you are finished, read other student’s posts and respond to at least two other students. (Hit “reply” on their posts). Write at least 1 paragraph for each student.

You should write at least 1 paragraph for each question (1-4) (Question 5 can be one sentence, but it is usually better to have a couple sentences. Your question and then some context. Make sure that this is a scholarly open-ended question. See examples below.) You must use specific details and quotes from the book in your initial answers. When you use quotes, include the page number in parentheses after the quote. If you are using the Kindle version, please include the location and chapter number.

Your responses will be graded on their quality, creativity and completeness as well as your spelling and grammar.

Answer these questions in one paragraph each:

1. Why do people migrate from Tonga? How has this changed over time? Does this challenge the assumptions you had about why people migrate to the U.S. and in what ways?

2. Analyze this quote by Cathy Small: “Leaving the village might become the best way to fulfill a Tongan life” (pg 43). What does quote mean? What does it have to do with kavenga and western and traditional wealth?

3. Traditions: This book gives very interesting examples of how traditions change over time (although we might think they stay the same). First, name one Tongan tradition that has changed over time and describe how. Second, name one American tradition (or a tradition from another culture you are familiar with). Describe this tradition, what people think about it and how it has changed over time. Write about the significance of this American tradition from an EMIC and ETIC perspective.

4. What is the most interesting or surprising thing you have learned from this book so far? Explain why it is interesting to you. If you could do further research on this topic, what would you do?

5. Ask the class an open-ended discussion question using at least one of the following key terms: remittance, ethnography, informant, tradition, compromise culture, tapa cloth, kavenga, or reciprocity.

6. In your replies to the original posts, answer people’s discussion questions.

Tips on how to write a good discussion question: You want to write a question that would start a conversation that could last a few minutes in an on-campus class. (Not just a yes or no answer). Also, try to make it thought provoking and relevant to the class topics.

Take a look at this example of a question that did not get a good score:

Bad Example A: “Does your family currently send remittances to your country of origin and if so, what percentage of income?”

Good aspects: It uses key terms (remittances), and could get people to answer something.

Negative aspects: It doesn’t promote a discussion that could last a few minutes. People would just answer, and not give more information or relate their experiences to the book.

How to improve that question?:

Good Example B. You could expand the question by asking something like:

“Does your family send remittances home and if so what percentage of their income? How does this compare to the remittances sent by the families in Voyages? What are some the implications of sending remittances and how do you think this will change over time?”


Good Example C: “How does your family’s remittance practices compare with those of the people in Voyages? What differences and similarities do you see between the transnational connections between Tonga and the US and where your family is from?”

Here is an example of a good 1-sentence scholarly open-ended question that relates to the text:

Good Example D: What would happen to the country of Tonga if remittances couldn’t be sent back to families anymore?

Better Example E with context added: From this section of Voyages we see that people’s lives have changed because they now rely on remittances. What do you think would happen in the short and long run if they suddenly stopped receiving remittances?


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