The University of Iowa

Stanley Graduate Awards: 2020 Winners

Ebenezer Olamiposi Adeyemi 
Destination: Lagos State, Nigeria
Project Title: Health Care, Coping, and Malaria in Makoko, Nigeria

I am applying for the Stanley Graduate Award for International Research to undertake eight (8) weeks of research, from June 1 to July 20, 2020 in Makoko, Lagos State, Southwestern Nigeria. The research will focus on the malaria epidemic in Makoko, specifically the coping strategies that people employ to access health care despite limited resources and a lack of government services. Makoko is arguably the largest shack settlement in Lagos State, Nigeria and has faced a malaria epidemic for over one hundred years. Life in Makoko is characterized by a lack of safe and hygienic water, paved roads, waste disposal systems, public hospitals, and government services. Due to the foregoing factors, Makoko residents are prone to infectious diseases including malaria, tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid, and diarrhea. The Nigerian malaria epidemic has long served as a point of interest for my research given its scope and social impact. According to the World Health Organization Malaria report (2019), Nigeria accounts for (25%) of malaria infection and death globally, making the country the most affected in the world. My earlier research on the Nigerian malaria epidemic focused on the causes of malaria in Southwestern Nigeria. My current interest in the coping strategies employed to deal with malaria was piqued by my self-sponsored preliminary visit to Makoko during the 2019-20 winter break. Through interactions with Makoko residents, I established that malaria is the most common and widespread health issue in the community. However, while the current literature details several factors that leave communities like Makoko susceptible to malaria, there is a discernible absence of literature that analyzes the mechanisms that people adopt to cope with malaria’s effects. My research will address this gap in the literature through long-term fieldwork on the dynamics of health and inequality in Makoko.

Anthony Capparelli
Musical Arts
Destination: Berlin, Germany
Project Title: An Immersive Approach to Understanding Repetiteurship

In the changing world, the career path of a piano performance major can unfold in a number of ways, frequently including a smattering of freelance work.  One such path is that of the vocal collaborative pianist, opera coach, and répétiteur.  However, the standard performance degree does not necessarily prepare a pianist with the tools needed to be successful in this specialized line of work, and many piano students might not stumble on this career until later in their growth as a musician.  For my Stanley research, I will spend 8 weeks in Berlin, Germany, a city and country where opera is thriving, as a répétiteur apprentice for the Berlin Opera Academy.  I will work in all levels of the opera house, assist the conductor and director in preparing two full operas, study diction and coaching practices, and experience the full immersion of the role as a rehearsal pianist in Europe.  The purpose of this fieldwork is to better understand the répétiteur skillset, the differences and expectations in a European as opposed to an American setting, and to one day develop curriculum and pedagogical tools to assist my future students who might hope to pursue this line of work.  

Julia Conrad
Literary Translation
Destination: Pavia, Italy; Otranto, Italy
Project Title: Translating Maria Corti's Siren Song (Canto delle Sirene)

Many U.S. readers are familiar with Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco, or Nobel-winning poet Eugenio Montale, yet their contemporary Maria Corti, one of Italy’s most important intellectuals and writers, is relatively unknown in the United States. This fact has largely to do with much of her work being unavailable in English. For my MFA thesis in Literary Translation, I am translating what is considered to be Corti’s best literary work, Siren Song (Canto delle Sirene), a novel about intellectual seduction. I am applying for a Stanley Graduate Award in International Research to spend six weeks in Italy, visiting the archive in Pavia that Corti herself founded to study the original manuscript and drafts of the novel, as well as the Salento region of Puglia, where part of the novel is set, and whose landmarks and specific regional dialects would be essential to the translation.

Natalie Dawson
Destination: United Kingdom
Project Title: The Third Window: Examining the Anchorites’ Renunciant Dream

I am a graduate student pursuing an MFA in fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. I am applying for the Stanley Award in order to conduct research in the United Kingdom on the women anchorites of the Middle Ages, whose self-imposed isolation was so extreme that they held living funerals, complete with burial rites, before being locked away in a single room for the rest of their lives. This research will form the foundation for a significant portion of my MFA thesis, a collection of works about women who reject the social mandate of caretaking. 

Eliot Duncan
Destination: Berlin, Germany
Project Title: No Future : Looking For Boyhood, Transmasculine Identities in Weimar Germany 

My research will unearth histories of transmasculine identies in Weimar Germany. I will do in extensive archival research at the Schwules Museum's (queer history museum's) archive. The era, 1919-33, is famous for gay freedom for cis men and women. The era is also known for the beginings of trans liberation and medicalization via Magnus Herschfeld and his clinic. However, there remains little to no research specifically on transmasculine identies of the time. Much of the sociological and theoretical research of the era remains focused on cis gay men, lesbians and transwomen. This grant will allow me to acess first hand documents that shed light on transmen and transmasculine idenities of the era that have previously not been studied. Following the Nazi book burning of trans and queer history at Opernplatz in '33, much of what survived the era is kept preciously tucked in archival protection. This grant will allow me the time and access to crucial documents that, connected to my multi-genre novel, will illuminate new angles and shapes of trans history. In addition to a significant amount of pages and content for my novel, my reasearch will culminate in a performance piece in conversation with my research that will take place at Opernplatz, where trans and queer histroy was scorched by Nazi Germany. I will also offer free writing workshops for trans creatives at Hop Scotch Reading Room. 

Drew Etienne
Studio Art
Destination: Matsumoto, Nagano, and Kawaguchiko, Japan
Project Title: Mokuhanga Study

This summer I will be traveling to Japan for six weeks in total. During the first week I will be studying and photographing Japanese woodcut prints (mokuhanga) at three museums as well as doing landscape photography that will be used for reference in my forthcoming work. I will then spend five weeks learning Japanese water-based woodblock printmaking techniques at the Mokuhanga Innovation Laboratory residency near Lake Kawaguchi. These endeavors will aid in continuing my work on environmental awareness using sustainable practices.

Sallie Fullerton
Destination: Charleville-Mézières, France
Project Title: Arthur Rimbaud and the Emergence of Queer Poetic Aesthetics 

I am a first year MFA student in the Writers’ Workshop applying for a Stanley Graduate Award for International Research to spend four weeks in Charleville-Mézières, France researching the poet Arthur Rimbaud and his relationship to emergence of modern queer aesthetics in literature for my MFA thesis. His hometown of Charleville-Mézières, a small town in northwest France just outside of Brussels, is home to the Arthur Rimbaud Museum which boasts an extensive collection of the poet’s portraits, notebooks, photographs, historical objects and manuscripts. Among these are the extremely rare first drafts of poems comprising his most famous manuscripts Les Illuminations and Une Saison En Enfer. Charleville-Mézières also houses the Arthur Rimbaud Trail, which crosses through sites frequented by Rimbaud during his childhood and adolescence, as well as various sites of public art dedicated to the life and work of the poet. This research will be integrated into my book-length poetry thesis exploring embodied memory and trauma both through developing my understanding of queer approaches to poetic form and style, as well as providing documentary material to be included in the poetry itself.   

Jonathan Gleason
Fine Arts
Destination: Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Project Title: Holy Water: an oral history of water scarcity on the United States-Mexico border 

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, as the mining industry boomed in northern Mexico and prohibition took effect in the United States, the border region saw a population explosion that drew in migrants from both the east coast of the United States and the interior of Mexico. The twin cities of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico and El Paso in the United States were unprepared for this huge influx of people, and the resulting housing deficits led to the creation of makeshift homesteads without potable drinking water, waste systems or paved streets that extended from the outskirts of the city all along the border. Often these unincorporated properties were “sold” to migrants by unscrupulous developers—a void and predatory transaction, given that the properties were not a part of the city and could neither be bought nor sold. These are the colonias.

Today, there are several different definitions for what constitutes a colonia, but they are generally defined by what they lack rather than what they have. The colonias, however, have also done something incredible: they have survived for a century without basic public utilities and in an era of increasing water scarcity. How have these communities managed to make a lige in such a marginalized state? How do its citizens contend with the lack of basic amenities on a daily basis? How do the colonias provide insight into life in a world of increasing water scarcity? And what does this history of cultural collision have to teach us about the ways people make their lives in uncertain terrain? Through six weeks of research in Ciudad Juarez and its surrounding colonias, I hope to answer these questions. The oral histories and compiled research from this trip will also form the basis of my MFA thesis in Nonfiction Writing at the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program. 

Abby Hellem
Public Health
Destination: Hong Kong
Project Title: Foreign Domestic Helper's Confidence, Beliefs, and Skills to Provide Care for Community-dwelling Older Adults in Hong Kong

I am applying for the Stanley Graduate Award for International Research to investigate caregiver practices in Hong Kong. I propose to spend five weeks in Hong Kong to conduct qualitative interviews with foreign domestic helpers (FDH) who provide care to older Hong Kong Chinese individuals (65 years old or older). The qualitative interview questions are grounded in the Social Cognitive Theory and will specifically measure FDH confidence, normative beliefs, and skills to provide care to their care recipients. This project will serve as preliminary research for my Master’s of Public Health applied practice experience working with a Hong Kong FDH organization. 

Claretta Holsey
Destination: Paris, France
Project Title: Paris à pied: Black History in Public Space

An MFA poetry candidate and enrollee in the literary certification program, I am invested in American, French, and Francophone creative expression. The Stanley Graduate Award for International Research would allow me to spend four weeks examining the historical representation of blackness in certain public spaces of Paris, France. In Paris, black writers such as James Baldwin and Langston Hughes found solace during the Harlem Renaissance, and their presence has made those spaces literary, historical, and historically black. I will visit many of those spaces à pied (or, on foot), touring Montparnasse, Parc Monceau, Little Africa, Pigalles, and Montmartre with a guide who maintains the oral and local history of the spaces. In Paris, too, is Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac’s Africa Collection. Possessing about 70,000 works from sub-Saharan Africa, the Musée du Quai Branly signifies the ways in which France, as a nation, memorializes an image of blackness emptied of its cultural context. In Paris, and indeed all over France, President Macron’s Africa2020 initiative will provide a platform for exclusively pan-African artistry in visual arts, literature, and more. I will attend several literary presentations to observe a distinctly African perspective that is francophone yet not mediated by the French gaze. My time in France would lend my poetry thesis and translations a historical, political, and social consciousness. 

Kenneth Ibegwam
Creative Writing
Destination: Killeshandra, Ireland 
Project Title: The Map to Every Door: The Potency of Irish Missionaries in Southeastern Nigeria.

This research will yield an ambitious collection of short stories, that deals with the interaction of the indigenous Igbo people (my ancestors) and the Irish missionaries, which was different from the relationship with the English colonial administrators. My hope is that this collection will aside from being published, further humanize the people whose lives I intend to mine for story materials. Showing that we are more alike than we’re different. The ambition is to do what the Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe referred to as a balance stories. Finally, if as I believe the role of a storyteller is to instruct as well as to delight, then the task before me is to write about the particular, the proselytizing, with childlike wonderment, so well that the specific becomes the universal.

Kirsten Johnson
Creative Writing
Destination: Taipei and Gaoxiong,Taiwan
Project Title: Cultural Appropriation, Religion, and Loneliness in Taiwan 2020

I am a graduate student at the University of Iowa pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing. I am writing a work of fiction set in Taipei, Taiwan, which explores ideas of Orientalism, cultural appropriation, and religious experience through the plot of a white ex-patriot who becomes involved in a new religious movement while there. I am applying for the Stanley Award for International Research so that I might travel to Taiwan to conduct interviews, read works housed at the National Taiwan University Library and Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education, and photograph and record notes of key religious locales.

Jacob Jones
Destination: Berlin, Germany
Project Title: Experimental Instrument Building: Sound as a Sculptural Media

As an artist, my practice explores what it means to treat sound as a sculptural medium. I use electric guitar pickups and steel-core wire to transform gallery space into an acoustic body. What happens when space becomes an instrument used to play something other than music? I am interested in how our bodies resonant with frequencies of sound, how this can affect our mood, or even impact productivity. My work deals with comparisons between different kinds of spaces. For example, in a series of landscape paintings that I turned into guitars with built in effects I was looking at differences between a digital delay effect and shouting across a canyon. The sounds are the same, but it is a difference between an electronic space and a natural one. 

I have been invited by film and music blog Ultra Dogme as a visiting artist to Berlin this summer where I will have support to study the sound art history and landscape of the city. In addition, I am meeting with the master experimental instrument builder Yuri Landman who has offered to talk about our processes. I will record sound in urban spaces to create work that explores Berlin’s complicated history. Finally, I will be looking to connect with other institutions that may support my practice and research in the future. 

Megan Koch
Destination: Krakow, Poland
Project Title: Unraveling the Paleozoic Northwest Passage: strike-slip motion in southwestern Svalbard

The geologic relationships present in southwestern Svalbard offer a unique opportunity to understand the tectonic processes that led to the evolution of the circum-Arctic region. Svalbard, Norway is a key locality for unraveling the kinematics, or movement direction, of faults emanating from the Caledonian continental collision 400 million years ago and subsequent strike-slip translation of crustal fragments throughout the Arctic. The structural geology of this region has long been studied by Polish researchers at AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow, Poland. Through collaboration with Polish researchers, this project aims to constrain the kinematics and timing of strike-slip motion in southwestern Svalbard. The project will be completed by making detailed structural observations of rock samples from southwestern Svalbard and by obtaining radiometric dates of key rock fabrics, both of which activities are only made possible by the expertise and geological background of Polish researchers at AGH-UST. 

Jessica Kraemer
Nonfiction Writing
Destination: Berlin, Germany and Paris, France
Project Title: Human, Machine, Animal: Extra-Institutional Artmaking in Berlin and Paris

I am applying for a Stanley Graduate Award for International Research to Berlin and Paris where I will pursue a journalistic investigation into modes of ‘naive’ artmaking. In my work, I will be looking into three unique, but conceptually-related instances of art making specific to these regions that are grounded in an extra-institutional ethos: 1) European painting by naive artists as housed in two permanent collections in Berlin 2) The work of Berlin’s AI artists and thought leaders 3) The work of artist Hubert Dubrat who has, for thirty years, used cocoon-making larvae to build sculpture, and whose entire body of work will be briefly shown this summer at the Paris Museum of Modern Art. Each of these modes can be considered liberally under the umbrella term ‘naive’ art, or art created without formal training. By looking at these works, I will ask into the specifics of how artistic skill develops, and how each of these makers (human, animal, and machine) learn by a process based in trial and error, whether that process is born from intuition, algorithm, or biological instinct. By conducting a journalistic investigation into these spaces, I will gather the research necessary to produce an informative and richly narrative three-part essay that explores how artmaking in the naive mode—especially in these cities—involves a complex relationship between processes of learning, concepts of personhood, and ethical dynamics of power.

Kaylee Lockett
Literary Translation
Destination: Beirut, Lebanon
Project Title: A Fifth Season to Leave, a translation of the poems by Mohamad Nassereddine

I am applying for a Stanley Award for International Research to conduct research that will allow for the successful completion of my MFA in Literary Translation thesis, in which I will translate a book of poems by the Lebanese poet, Mohamad Nassereddine, and write a critical introduction to his work which will contextualize him in the canon of Arabic and Lebanese poetry.  Nassereddine’s books of poetry have not been translated into English, although some works have been translated into French and German.  Nassereddine’s work extends a post-war tradition of poetry in Lebanon that centers around the political instability, loss, and reconstruction that has defined Lebanon’s literary culture for the past three decades, and expands upon this tradition by approaching it in unexpected ways, often with playfulness and even humor. It is this playfulness, which Mohamad deploys both on a linguistic level, hinging a poem on the multi-valent word-root that can mean either “blue” or “glaucoma”, for example, and on the level of allusion, referencing culturally specific texts, events, and locations, that requires site-specific research.  Of the six weeks I spend in Lebanon, I intend to spend five weeks in Beirut, during which time I will interview Nassereddine about his writing.  A translator himself, the conversations we have regarding choices across languages will be invaluable to my thesis, particularly in those cases in which Nassereddine intentionally uses a word that can be read multiple ways, or refers to something foreign and unfamiliar to me.  Additionally, I will interview scholars I am in contact with from previous research and study at the American University of Beirut (AUB); in particular, Rana Issa and Rula Baalbaki, both translators and professors at AUB, will assist me in my translation of the linguistic and culturally specific elements of Nassereddine’s poems.  Regarding the geographically specific material, I will spend one week near Sidon, Lebanon, where Nassereddine spent his childhood and which appears in his poetry.  Finally, I will make use of written materials unavailable to me in the US, from writing of Nassereddine’s that only exists in print journals circulating in Lebanon, to the rich libraries and archives at AUB which contain the post-war Lebanese poetry that Nassereddine’s poems are in conversation with, by poets including Mohammad Ali Shams al-Deen and Abbas Beydoun.

Frankline Matanji
Journalism and Mass Communication
Destination: Kenya
Project Title: Exploring the Role of Digital Media in Community Fundraising and Empowerment: A Case of Kenya’s Joywo Organization 

I will spend seven weeks in Nairobi, Uasin Gishu, and Meru Counties in Kenya examining micro-finance groups’ adoption of digital media and their augmentation of services to their members. Joywo is a registered organization whose main objective is to economically empower organized women and youth. It is involved in sustainable livelihood projects such as supporting growth of small-scale business into large-scale investments, supporting members to access market, strengthening identification and incubation of diverse agricultural projects as well as providing scholarships to bright and needy students. Joywo and its subsidiary micro-finance groups get their funding through community fundraising practices. This pre-dissertation research will prepare me for my dissertation fieldwork as well as contribute to knowledge in the domain of digital media, development, and related literatures, especially in the Global South. 

Jamila Osman
Creative Nonfiction
Destination: Jerusalem
Project Title: When I See Them, I See Us: Understanding Black & Palestinian Solidarity

The purpose of my research is to explore contested citizenship in the US and in the Israeli/Palestinian context. Through in-depth interviews with community leaders in Jerusalem, I am going to document historic and contemporary examples of Black-Palestinian solidarity starting with the Black Panthers' public support for the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the mutual support between Black protestors in Ferguson and Palestinian activists in Jersusalem and the West Bank. My interviews and on the ground research will allow me to situate this solidarity in the context of shared experiences of state violence and border militarization.  

Michael Overstreet
French and Italian
Destination: Fort-de-France, Martinique
Project Title: The Resurfacing of the Dead: Quimbois and Vodou in the Martinican Canon

With the help of a Stanley Grant I would travel to Martinique in order to conduct foundational research for my dissertation that will explore the implementation and imbrication of Vodou and Quimbois symbolism and myth in the creation of the contemporary French-Caribbean literary canon. Being physically present in Martinique will allow me to accrue indispensable primary sources for my dissertation prospectus. I will spend my time in the Departmental Archives of Martinique, in La Bibliothèque Schoelcher, conducting a series of interviews with world renowned novelist Patrick Chamoiseau, and attending the diverse programming of Fort-de-France's annual cultural festival.

Kathleen Paltrineri
Literary Translation
Destination: Oslo & Drøbak, Norway
Project Title: Researching and Translating the Ecofeminist Poetry of Kristin Berget

With the aid of a Stanley Graduate Award for International Research, I will spend four weeks in Norway to research and translate the poetry of author Kristin Berget and write the critical introduction for my MFA thesis in Literary Translation. In the US, there is a lack of scholarship on Berget and on the ecofeminist mode of Norwegian poetry in which she writes (a lack I wish to remedy with the scholarly component of my thesis); therefore, it is necessary that I conduct comprehensive research in Norway in order to best translate and contextualize Berget’s work. Ecofeminist poetry emphasizes that both women and nature must be respected. In the light of anthropogenic climate change, it is urgent that we in the US understand the perspective in Norway, where about half of the country lies north of the Arctic Circle, a region predicted to warm faster than anywhere else. Berget’s image- and rhythm-rich poems are set in a precarious ecological landscape. I will spend one week in Drøbak interviewing Berget and three weeks in Oslo where, with valuable access to archives and libraries that require my physical presence, I will examine Berget’s additional five texts, interviews and literary criticism of Berget’s work, and scholarship on Norwegian ecofeminist literature. 

Olivia Parkes
Creative Writing 
Destination: Berlin, Germany
Project Title: Shifting Ground: Past, Present, Palimpsest in Berlin

My Stanley project will take me to Berlin for six weeks to research three radically repurposed structures with troublesome histories: Tempelhof (a former Nazi airport and military base that opened as a public park in 2010, and now also provides temporary housing for over 1,000 refugees), Tropical Island (a climate-controlled tropical theme park constructed inside an airship hanger on the site of a former Soviet airfield), and the Sammlung Boros (a WW2 bunker that became a Red Army prisoner of war camp, a techno club, and finally the home of a private art collection). This research will enable me to complete my MFA Thesis at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop: a collection of surreal short stories that investigate both place and the present as shifting ground, caught between projections of the future and ghosts of the past. Stories in the collection will take these sites both as settings and imaginative directives for scenarios that explore the tensions between visible and invisible, display and disguise, refuge and invasion, that charge the spaces – whether showrooms or shelters – we inhabit today. 

Abagail Petersen
Creative Writing 
Destination: Santiago, San Vicente, and Vicuña, Chile
Project Title: Where are the Women: Notes on Gabriela Mistral & the Female Intelligentsia 

In a recent translation of Gabriela Mistral’s (1889-1957) poetry, translator Paul Burns admits in his preface that he did not previously know her work; to date, the complete works of Latin America’s first female Nobel Prize-winning poet are not edited. I am applying for the Stanley Graduate Award to spend four weeks in Chile researching Mistral’s legacy and relationships with fellow female artists and intellectuals from 1922 to 1955. My poetry investigates the historical, political, and social lives of important, but often forgotten women, and this research will constitute a key part of my thesis for the Writers’ Workshop. Given that my mother’s family were political refugees from Chile, I am furthermore interested in the points of intersection between the stories of those who left and those who did not. For example, Mistral’s established role as an educator strongly evokes the four generations of teachers in my family. The accounts of these overlooked women are not only significant to my thesis, but I also want to use my editorship at the Iowa Review to feature underrepresented female writers inspired by these travels.

Sanjna Singh
Nonfiction Writing Program
Destination: Nepal
Project Title: Recognizing Dakini: Reclaiming the Sacred Feminine in Tibetan Buddhism

Within the Tantric tradition of Tibetan Buddhism exists a lineage of the ‘sacred feminine,’ passed down by female spiritual masters, known as dakinis. The  teachings this lineage encompasses form a crucial part of Buddhist tantra, yet academic research on this subject remains in its infancy. This is in part because these teachings are not presented in a straightforward manner, such as through religious texts. Rather, they are hidden within esoteric ritual, song and dance, which require time and knowledge to interpret. I am applying for a Stanley Graduate Award for International Research to spend four weeks in Nepal, in order to examine the way spiritual instruction has been woven into temple rituals, dance and song, and to learn how these teachings can inform and empower present-day feminist contemplative journeys. I will use this compiled research as the foundation for my MFA thesis at the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program.

Kimberly Swendson
Literary Translation
Destination: San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, Italy
Project Title: Research and Translation of Sibilla Aleramo: The Woman Who Set the Tone for Modern Italian Literary Feminism

A Graduate Stanley Award for International Research will allow me to visit and utilize the archives at the Centro Vittore Branca on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore off the coast of Milan in Italy. These archives house a collection of primary documents written by and about Sibilla Aleramo (1876-1960), a cornerstone of the modern Italian literary feminist movement. I am currently translating a section of Aleramo's 1912 novella, "Transfigurations", that will be the first section of my MFA thesis, a selection of modern and contemporary Italian feminist writers writing about the female experience.  Aleramo, whose writing marks a focal point in modern literary feminism, frames both the project and the other writers' cultural and historical importance both in Italy and abroad. Despite the impact she made in her time as the first Italian feminist author, sending shockwaves through the 20th century European literary scene, her writing has been excluded from the Italian canon. As an extension of that exclusion, she remains largely obscure in America. The selection and translation of her work will advocate Italy's contributions to literary feminism. 

Andrew Tan-Delli Cicchi 
Nonfiction Writing Program
Destination: Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Project Title: Objects, Power, Memory: A documentary catalogue of Chinese migration and capital in Tonga

Since the turn of the century, the Chinese government’s increased involvement in the South Pacific has resulted noticeably lopsided arrangements of Beijing-funded projects and loans in small island nations. This is no more apparent than in Tonga, which, after a range of infrastructure and aid packages, currently owes more than half of its public debt to China. Recent economic investment, however, takes place after many decades of Chinese migration to Tonga, a diverse group of mostly shop-keeping migrants who do not necessarily fit with this broader image of Chinese wealth, frequently subjected to anti-Chinese riots nationwide. These two spheres of the Sino-Tongan relationship, enthusiastic cooperation at the governmental level and quieter apprehension at the local level, are entangled in the material production of everyday life. This creative nonfiction project seeks to narrate these heterogeneous textures of Chinese migration and capital in Tonga, of memory and emergent power, through a documentary catalogue of things, places, and ephemera.