Sylvia’s Journey


My research is part of an ongoing collaboration of artists, activists, and academics who explore (de)colonization and (de)militarization efforts and resistance and solidarity (fluidarity) across Oceania through a gendered and visual lens.

The Journey Continues…

I see myself as an activist academic who produces scholarship in solidarity (or Oceanic ‘fluidarity’) with those in the US-affiliated Pacific who are resisting the US federal government and US Department of Defense (DoD). I am interested in how US federal legal systems operate in the US-affiliated Pacific islands, especially in the Marianas Archipelago, a contemporary colony, enabling legal US militarisation. Women’s legal resistance against the United States is grounded in Oceanic women’s forms of matriarchal power, which promotes human rights as control over your resources, lands, waters, and people. 


I earned my doctorate in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Otago | Te Whare Wānanga Otāgo. My thesis examined Indigenous women’s resistance to United States contemporary colonization and expanding militarization in the Marianas Archipelago located in the Western Pacific. I currently serves as a Research Associate with the Richard Flores Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC) at the University of Guam | Unibetsedåt Guåhan. 

I am honoured to be a member of the Vakatele Pacific Research Network, created by the inaugural foundation Professor of Pacific Studies in Auckland University of Technology’s Institute of Pacific Policies, Tagaloatele Emeritus Professor Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop.

“We are doing this research for our communities and for New Zealand’s aspirations to be a culturally diverse, just and equitable nation,” Tagaloatele Emeritus Professor Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop

Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop

Tagaloatele Emeritus Professor

The Vakatele Pacific Research Network published, AUT Pacific Research Profiles 2012-2018, which showcases more than 75 Pacific-related researchers. Read more on the Asia Pacific Report by Michael Andrew –  May 28, 2019 – Pacific research of ‘hard’ social issues profiled in new publication:

Digital Dissemination

In addition to academic outputs, the findings of our research are accessible as useful resources for the wider public.

In 2018, I digitally published my doctoral thesis through a partnership with the Pacific Media Centre attached to the Auckland University of Technology in Aotearoa New Zealand, the digital platform Guampedia associated with the University of Guam, the US federally funded Northern Marianas Humanities Council, and the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago. This research contribution is part of the 500 years of resistance, and publishing it online for free ensures the community can access it, and for the future.  

Dr Frain continues to curates the Facebook page, Oceania Resistance with activists, educators, and students in mind, and feature news stories, academic opportunities, as well as updates from resistance movements from across Oceania.

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