University of Cambridge > > Department of Archaeology - Garrod seminar series > Colonialism and Meta-Narratives in the Philippines: Decolonizing History through Community Archaeology among the Ifugao

Colonialism and Meta-Narratives in the Philippines: Decolonizing History through Community Archaeology among the Ifugao

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  • UserDr Stephen Acabado, UCLA
  • ClockThursday 20 May 2021, 16:00-17:30
  • HouseZoom.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Lydia Clough.

Abstract: Professional archaeological research in the Philippines did not start until after the establishment of the American colonial government in 1898. Previously, archaeology in the country was an antiquarian endeavor, which, mirrors the history of the discipline itself. As such, previous archaeological investigations have been use in the creation of imagined narratives that forefront the culture and history of dominant ethnolinguistic groups, thereby maintaining existing structures. However, this archaeological tradition has the potential trap of generating nationalistic sentiments over cultural diversity since this approach emphasizes actual or perceived differences. As an example, Philippine Cordillera peoples have been described by dominant historical narratives as isolated and “untainted” by European, or even by lowland, cultures. They then become stereotypes of “original Filipinos,” a label that is ethnocentric since it denotes unchanging culture through centuries of existence. Models, such as the Waves of Migration Theory and the Three Age System, developed by otherwise well-meaning people were unwittingly Eurocentric. However, our archaeological studies now tell us that highland groups, particularly the Ifugao, had active and intense contacts with lowland and other highland groups, especially, during the Spanish colonial period. In fact, rapid social change coincided with the arrival of the Spanish in northern Luzon. This talk outlines how local histories and community engagement can facilitate the decolonization of history and knowledge production.

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This talk is part of the Department of Archaeology - Garrod seminar series series.

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