Margaret Mishra


This article sets out to retrieve two accounts of female deviance in colonial Fiji. It will posit rule-breaking behavior as a reaction to colonial and patriarchal efforts to regulate female behavior and sexuality. The article simultaneously aims to undo rigid categorizations of female deviance by relating such acts to historical circumstance. Police records, court proceedings and news items from The National Archives of Fiji are cited to show how indigenous Fijian woman, Davilo, and indentured Indian woman, Sukhrania, transgressed socially constructed paradigms of morality by procuring abortions in 1884 and engaging in prostitution in 1909, respectively. By relabeling these alleged acts of deviance as survival strategies emerging out of women’s experiences of ‘double colonization’, this article will reconstruct two ‘minor’ anecdotal fragments awkwardly wedged within the realm of ‘mainstream history’.

Author Biography

Margaret Mishra is a senior lecturer in the School of Government, Development and International Affairs at the University of the South Pacific. Her published articles aim to recover minor historical fragments relating to women in Fiji during the period of indenture and colonialism more generally.