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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Filipino American Studies at the Crossroads: Art, Activism, and Scholarship in Response to Philippine State Violence

Since 2001 nearly 900 people in the Philippines have been victims of extra-judicial killings committed under the regime of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Commander-in- Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. In the past several months, a series of events have occurred in the Philippines that has shifted the political situation facing scholars and activists in both the Philippines and the US:

1) Three activists associated with the Gabriela Network, Judith Mirkinson, Ninotchka Rosca, and Annalisa Enrile, a US citizen, were prevented from freely leaving the Philippines on August 5

2) The Human Security Act, which widens the Philippine state's powers of surveillance and incarceration, went into effect on August 11

3) The arrest of Jose Maria Sison in the Netherlands on August 28

4) The bombing at the Philippine House of Representatives on November 13

5) The rebellion at the Peninsula Manila hotel on November 29

For additional context see the report by the human rights organization Karapatan at
http://www.stopthekillings.org/stknpv2/files/karapatan_2007hr_report. pdf

The Critical Filipina/o Studies Research Cluster of the Center for Cultural Studies at UC Santa Cruz invites papers from scholars and scholar-activists in Filipino American Studies and Philippine Studies that address the militarized political situation outlined above. In particular, we invite papers for a one-day conference on April 5, 2008, that answer one or more of the following questions:

1) In what ways do your current projects speak to these events, or are there ways your projects might extend towards these events?

2) How do these events affect the kinds of political solidarity work you might engage in?

3) What disciplinary and institutional boundaries do you negotiate in your scholarship, art, and activism related to the current political situation in the Philippines?

Possible topics might include but are not limited to the following:

-Cultural activism: Visual and performing artists respond to Philippine state violence
-Diasporic nationalisms: Transnational political organizing
-Anti-imperialist organizing among Filipino Americans
-The role of balikbayans in Philippine social movements

In lieu of a keynote speaker, the research cluster will screen a documentary and host a performance on the evening of April 5.

The conference will culminate with a performance by San Francisco and New York-based Filipina American artists whose work addresses issues of gender and sexuality in the current context of militarized state violence in the Philippines. Through song, spoken word, theater, and
poetry, the artists will present a creative response to the current political oppression and violence in the Philippines.

Please send paper proposals (500 words) to sherwin@ucsc. edu. Deadline for submissions is February 15th, and contributors will be notified before March 1.

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