Sunday, February 27, 2005

Enjoy Vigan and Pamulinawen!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

I stand with Ward Churchill alongside Robert Jensen and all the other academics and organizations protesting his "witch hunt" by the conservative movement. It makes me shudder to think that this is only the first of future witch hunts of academics who will not toe the line of what Gingrich calls "patriotic education."

Reasons why you should subscribe to Yes!:

  1. The current issue is on "Media that set us free" featuring Amy GOodman, Bill Moyers and other journalists talking about the pressures on journalism/journalists as media outlets are consolidated by corporate conglomerates.
  2. Feature articles on different groups resisting corporate media and creating democractic media outlets. I specially liked the story about how the youth activists at KMEL (Oakland) successfully lobbied against Clear Channel's programming and were able to get their progressive youth program back on the air.
  3. Feature on Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai. Because her grandmother taught her to take care of the large fig tree near her family home because it was sacred and it was not to be disturbed, she would later establish the GreenBelt Movement in Kenya. Todate, this NGO has planted 30Million trees across Kenya.
  4. News that you will never read anywhere else. Did you know that Oberlin, Bard, Rutgers, U of Montana, Lake Forest College and other institutions have bowed to student pressure to discontinue use and sale of Coke products on their campus? This is in protest of the killing of a union activist and other human rights violations committed by paramilitary forces at the Colombia Coca Cola plant.
  5. Because Michael Leonen, Yes!' managing editor, is Filipino.

Friday, February 25, 2005

I hope Ray wins this weekend.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Been neglecting this blog due to a flurry of exchanges on another listserve about this. There is a slideshow on the website that you may want to see for yourself. Lily Mendoza posted that she will use this for her class on Culture and Representation, alongside The Forbidden Book; it is a good teaching tool on how to read/critique images and texts.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Poets in love.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Re-posting my thoughts triggered by listserve discussion on nationalism, globalization, and how to help the Philippines -- via educational materials dumped from the US?
Dear ....
Taking into consideration the differences in all of our positions regarding these recent topics, it occurs to me that the common denominator that we share is the frame and lens of Modernity by which we see the world.

Modernity - this time frame spans about 500 years - starts with the rise of the scientific and industrial revolutions (in the West) leading up to imperial adventures and conquest (and you know where that got us). If this were the only framework that we reference when we think of ourselves (in the past or present) and our place in the world, then it's tempting to buy into the idea that we must become modern. "Modern" has become akin to the desirability , even necessity, of western rationality, technological advancement, scientific progress, etc. That is why we talk about the linear progression of "dark ages" to "age of enlightenment" and the "fear of a new dark age."

But look around. There exists now a global body of knowledge that asserts that this is the great delusion of modernity and that it has already begun to show its cracks. The last empire standing (guess who!) is scrambling to hold on and will do all it can whatever means necessary.

In this modern perspective, what is often invisible and unheard is the groundswell of resistance from the South (of the North/South divide -- think globally now) and the East (of the East/West divide).

This movement consists of global decolonization movements, anti-corporate globalization movements (our very own Walden Bello being one of the folks on the forefront), survival strategies of resistance of indigenous peoples (yes, they're still here). Even within the U.S. there are subcultures and countercultural movements - ecological, feminist, voluntary simplicity movement to name a few -- who now discern that the dark shadow of modernity is catching up with our everyday lives. And still we delude ourselves that the solution is only one more innovative product to buy or one more progressive/modern idea away.

However, as this dark shadow looms, there is a little glimmer of light that comes from a very distant memory that says: once upon time, we were whole. Our psyches were not split, our sense of self intact. Everyone and everything was our relative. There was no Other.

So these days I often find myself imagining the world in different ways; reminding myself that Modernity is going to be a blip in the eternal (sunshine of the spotless mind:-)). I do this for the sake of appreciating interspecies diversity (cultural, biological, lingguistic, etc) and making sure that I do my part in making sure it survives and thrives. I do this by teaching my students how to recognize binary/dualistic thinking and helping them to understand that how we come to view Reality is often a product of social processes and struggles with power that are always place-based, born of particular locales and not usually meant to be abstracted and universalized into some program of full spectrum domination of the planet.

This way of seeing is not easy. I feel conflicted many times. I become aware of my complicity with the empire. But at least I have chosen positions that I can defend and live with.

All of your thoughtful insights helped me formulate this morning's ramblings and so I THANK YOU.

happy Sunday,

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Santiago Bose as shaman...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Rona's post about Ossie Davis leads to this find. Thanks, Rona! And talking about eulogies, I'm now learning about the life of BJ Alisago- activist, artist, and friend to many in the community -- whose sudden death at 30 remains a mystery. Although I didn't know him personally, I am saddened by the news and yet it is not strange that the death of someone like him can actually bring about a depth of gratitude, inspiration, and calming sense that his lifework will live on.

Monday, February 07, 2005

R and M, two Fil Am grad students from USF and SFSU, spent a few hours with me over the weekend discussing the formation of PIGS (Pilipinos in Graduate Studies). (Don't laugh; UCBerkeley used to have a grad student association called PANGIT). The name notwithstanding, they do have serious intentions:1) to find other Filipino American graduate students in the Bay Area who need peer support as they work on their graduate programs; 2) to find Fil Am mentors in the academe; 3) to encourage undergrads to pursue graduate work that focuses on Filipino American issues and concerns -- in public health, education, human service, politics, etc.

More needs:
**the lack of support from their academic counselors and professors when they expressed their interest in pursuing research related to Fil Am issues.
**how to deal with feelings of discrimination and prejudice coming from professors
**how to think about the Filipino American community's needs and how these interconnect with diasporic, transnational, global issues.
**how to integrate one's personal life with an academic vocation
**how to have fun while doing all of the above.

I will forward your comments to R and M and will post an email address as soon as I get their permission.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Nick Carbo has set up a class blog!!

Thanks, too, to Jean for helping me set up a class blog as well; I'll post the link as soon as it's up and running.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Thanks to Rachel Cerdenio who recently wrote about Coming Full Circle for her doctoral class on Philosophical Foundations of Education. Here's her conclusion to the essay:

Personal Reflections
Someone once said to me that books have a funny way of looking for you instead of you looking for it. I felt this way when Dr. Leny Strobel’s work Coming Full Circle fell into my hands. Even though I learned a lot from and have been empowered by the many books such as Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire, Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks, or L.S. Vygotsky’s Mind in Society that were assigned by various professors I still could not shake off that small feeling of disconnectedness. Since I wanted to do research that explored the formation of identity, I wanted to find a book that reflected the true voice of experience of the Filipinos. Strobel’s work, written meditatively yet aggressively at times brought about the right combination of fresh insight and intelligence that I was looking for in a book of the same genre. I believe that Strobel’s Coming Full Circle: The Process of Decolonization among Post-1965 Filipino Americans will remain as one of the most important narrative about the Filipino American experience.

I was just reading Derrick Jensen's Reading, Writing and Revolution. He writes:

education...from its latin root e-ducere means "to lead forth" or "to draw out." ...Closely related is seduce which means "to lead astray....if we were honest, departments of education should be called departments of seduction, for that is what they do: lead us away from ourselves.

This is a beautiful book on how to teach creative writing and critical thinking; but it's also a grave indictment of what education has become.

Obviously, I have become a fan.

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