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Taking a break between interviews in Vava’u, Tonga

Our long, successful, and continuing story of migration across the globe attests to the extraordinary adaptability of humans. Part of our success lies in cultural adaptations. Conforming to conventional wisdom, group learning, and developing and giving attention to markers of group identity are ways we confront the challenges of the social and ecological environment. To understand this process I conduct ethnographic fieldwork and build mathematical and statistical models. I collect data among the people of the Kingdom of Tonga and also in the Tonga diaspora. My objective is to explore explanations of the cultural variation I see in Tonga, among the diaspora, and across other similar cases.