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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I accepted an invitation to lecture in another professor's course on US Imperialism. He said that most students haven't thought of the US as an empire/imperialist nation. The class will be watching "Savage Acts," reading about "white love", and other key essays on US colonization of the Philippines.

Part of the course is to look at the responses to US imperialism from the point of view of Filipinos: ouir strategies of resistance, the counterstories, the social and political responses.

In my lecture, I will talk about my work on decolonization but I will also expand and delve further into the theme of indigenization. The indigenization discourse allows me to expand the historical framework of modernity (500 years) and it allows me to move the boundaries of decolonization discourse into a wider timeframe.

It is in this context that I will introduce the Babaylan tradition as practiced by land-based indigenous communities in the Philippines and the Babaylan-inspired movement among Filiipinos in the diaspora -- as an example of an evolution of an indigenization project.

I am aware that a lot of Filipinos in the diaspora and in the homeland have not had the opportunity to take a closer look at our indigenous practices as a form of human, cultural, and spiritual capital. (I do not like the word "capital" but I borrow it here in order to temporarily locate our capital within the current discourse on globalization and capitalism).

I feel that there is an imperative for me to try to articulate how the indigenous world view can be a critique/response to the ravages of global capitalism -- in fact,it points to alternative perspective that is so much more sustainable, integral...and one that is aligned with other global movements seeking to address the imperiled future of the planet.

The Babaylan tradition also brings back the Sacred into the discourse. For too long, the sacred has been exiled as an "other realm" that is separate from our economic and political lives. This hasn't worked very well and there is no need to belabor this point for it should be obvious that the empire is fraying at the edges and bleeding from the inside because it has exiled this Sacred and disenchanted Nature as a result.

When I've done this lecture to Fil Am college student groups, the response has always been "we need to hear this kind of integration in all our courses". So now I'm doing the lecture to non-Fil Am students. How different would their response be?

Well, the Babaylan Conference is a container for all kinds of conversations that we want to have as related to these themes. I hope you will join us.


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