Returning to the Region:
Philippine History and the Contingencies of Southeast Asia
April 7 & 9, 2021 — Zoom workshop hosted Yale-NUS College
Early post-war/Cold War Southeast Asian studies, such D.G.E. Hall’s A History of Southeast Asia (1955), excluded the Philippines from Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, Philippine historiography’s regional analytical complexity has thus far centered not on its Southeast Asian environs, but rather on its local, domestic regionalization. This sub-national regional complexity is due in large part to Alfred W. McCoy and Ed. C. De Jesus’s Philippine Social History: Global Trade and Local Transformations (1982), which heralded the turn toward the Philippines’ internal region. Their sub-national focus also prepared the ground for the more recent rise of international, transnational, and global historical writing, sharing the aim of decentering the nation-state. This latter turn, however, has tended to analyze the Philippines with and against its former Western colonizers and their other former colonies/sites of conquest—whether Puerto Rico, Cuba, or Iraq. What of the Philippines’ more proximate, natural regional context?
Building upon and paying homage to Philippine Social History’s regional turn inward, our special issue seeks to effect a regional turn outward, examining the Philippines within the contingencies of Southeast Asia. While recognizing Southeast Asian regionality as a political product as well as a tangible biotic zone—stretching from the Bay of Bengal to the Marianas Trench—this special issue shows how ideas of Southeast Asian regional space have existed in ways that complicate the ‘area studies’ imaginary. Excavating these spaces, this workshop and edited volume seek to return the Philippines to its more fluid, regional context. We do this to locate the study of the Philippines not at the edge of Southeast Asia but embedded within it.
Workshop convenors and volume editors:
Dr. Nicole CuUnjieng Aboitiz
University of Cambridge
Prof. Anthony Medrano
See the workshop program and other details here: