Wednesday, March 25, 2009

UGAT 31st Annual Conference Call for Papers


Anthropological Association of the Philippines

31st Annual Conference
The (Re)Making of Cities and its Consequences
22-24 October 2009
Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro City

We are pleased to announce the 31st Ugnayang Pang-Aghamtao (UGAT) Annual Conference entitled "The (Re)Making of Cities and its Consequences." Urban centers are expanding physically and virtually as new modes of transportation become available and new means of communicating via information technology and mass media reach into the farthest corners of the globe bringing with them new sensibilities, images, and meanings attached to city life. Philippine anthropology has largely focused on rural and indigenous peoples and has neglected to significantly contribute to the discourse on cities. This year's conference aims to bring the study of cities to the forefront: Who makes the city, how, and with what consequences? Inherently this involves state energies as well as the deployment of social, economic, and cultural resources by different interest groups and agents with divergent ends.

The major questions of this year's theme are:

1. When is anthropology?

Putting cities at the forefront of anthropological inquiry may have methodological implications and involve an urgency to reach across other disciplines. Cities had always been made up of diverse people coming from different backgrounds, the city reproduces a fast-paced lifestyle that is often characterized by anonymity, fleeting encounters, rapid exchange of ideas, constant mobility, and porous boundaries as city life spills into the suburban and vice versa. These pose challenges to anthropologists who have long been typecaste as studying rural and indigenous communities whose pace of life and sense of community markedly differ from those in the city. How do anthropologists approach the study of cities? And how can the social science disciplines involved in studying cities effectively converse with each other?

2. What makes a city?

The city as a built environment is also a lived environment. Within a city, enclaves based on such markers as gender, religion, ethnicity, and class put in stark relief the vast heterogeneity of people and, at the same time, these people's need to create a community and assert identity. Thus the city is not only just an environment of built structures that affect human activity; it is also made up of people striving to make sense of the city environment and their place in it. One central question is how Filipinos differentiate the “public” from the “private” sphere. Answering this can unlock various domains. For instance: why streets and sidewalks are privatized, why so-called public transport is decentralized, why buses and trucks are increasingly accident-prone, why privately-owned malls are gaining over plazas and small businesses, why gated subdivisions are better maintained than public parts of the city, or why planning for the city is often ineffectual. The public vs. private dichotomy can be pushed back in time: When and how did the sense of public space emerge? It can be pushed forward: What effect does the narrow sense of public have on our cities’ competitiveness in the world today? It can be used to compare: How has the sense of public gained strength in particular Philippine cities?

3. What are the consequences of the (re)making of cities?

Cities have long been the "center" relative to the rural "periphery." It is the center of commerce, of education, of mass media, of technology, and of politics as well as the consumer of the produce of the rural, and a center where people of divergent backgrounds converge. The city becomes a venue for the playing out of people's differences and similarities and of possibilities of reinventing oneself that engender new forms of culture that may in turn be transmitted to the periphery via the mass media. This is not a one-way street, however, as developments in the rural also often affect and shape the city. What are the consequences of the human agenda and the processes of (re)making cities on both the center and the periphery? Is the rural the only periphery or are there peripheries within the center as well?

With the theme, "The (Re)Making of Cities and its Consequences," UGAT invites panel and paper proposals for the 2009 Annual Conference. Papers and panels are expected to interrogate the processes and consequences of (re)making cities and how cities are studied in anthropology. The main themes include (but are not limited to):

1. Anthropologists in cities: doing ethnographies beyond convention
2. The built and lived environment: disaster management, sustainable cities, ethno-aesthetics, and heritage issues and advocacies
3. Sacred city: city as pilgrimage site
4. Urban folklore and cosmology
5. Private and public space: urban anonymity, urban space as private property
6. The body and the city: regulation of bodies, gendered city, and the creation of ethnic and religious enclaves
7. Exploding the urban-rural divide: diaspora, new media
8. Health and the city: health tourism, psychopathology, the underworld
9. The market city: mall culture, food culture, the tiangge culture
10. Cyber spaces in cities and cities in cyber space

We look forward to the participation of individuals from academic institutions, community-based organizations, and policy agencies.


2009 UGAT Conference Committee Guidelines for ABSTRACTS

1. Abstracts should be no more than 250 words.
2. Authors must indicate the theme their paper may fall under.
3. Submissions should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation and contact information (mailing address, telephone no., mobile phone no., e-mail address). For students, please indicate your intent to join the Student Paper Competition.
4. Abstracts should be sent to by 15 JULY 2008.

Abstracts may be considered for either paper presentation or poster presentation.

Papers authored by students will be automatically entered in the student paper competition. The winning paper will be considered for publication in the AghamTao Journal.

For other inquiries, please contact UGAT or go to

Friday, March 20, 2009

Dialogue on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, Environment and Mining Issues: The Western Shoshone Peoples Experience

The Philippine Indigenous Peoples’ Links (PIPLINKS) together with Tebtebba Foundation, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, Inc.-Kasama sa Kalikasan (LRC-KsK) and Ugnayang Pang-AghamTao, Inc (UGAT) - Anthropological Association of the Philippines through the support of Broederlijk Delen cordially invites you to a forum:

Dialogue on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, Environment and Mining Issues:
The Western Shoshone Peoples Experience

The forum will commence with the film showing of "Our Land, Our Life: The Struggle for Western Shoshone Land Rights" which tackles the long struggle for land of the Western Shoshone of Nevada against the US government and mining companies. A discussion will then follow with Julie Cavanaugh Bill, the lawyer of the Western Shoshone Defense Project and Larson Bill, a Shoshone leader, as well as the sharing of experiences from two Philippine indigenous groups, and reactions from UGAT and a support group.

The Western Shoshone has a long history of struggle against mining on their lands. Their concerns have included the activities of Barrick Gold, formerly Placer Dome, who operate the Cortez mine on Shoshone land. The Shoshone have successfully taken their case to the Inter American Court of Human Rights and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which has helped raise their concerns to the highest levels. However they remain, as yet, unable to gain justice, adequate redress or respect for their wishes. Along with other prominent cases of injustice against First Nations these matters are currently being raised both in the US Courts and in talks with the new US administration.

The Western Shoshone case reveals clearly the international nature of the suffering of indigenous peoples at the hands of large-scale mining development. It belies the idea that the Philippines is an isolated or exceptional victim of the global mining industry. Their case has been documented in a film prepared with the support of Oxfam USA . Representatives of the Western Shoshone are experienced in the international indigenous peoples movement. They have presented their case in different fora and used their film in presentations and discussions with audiences in the US and internationally.


Film Showing
Discussion of the film
Sharing of experiences from two Philippine indigenous groups
Reactions from Ugnayang Pang-AghamTao, Inc (UGAT) and a support group

Date: 22 March 2009 (Sunday)
Time: 2-5 pm
Venue: Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman

Monday, March 9, 2009

A New Home for UGAT

A New Home for UGAT

Finally, UGAT has its own domain. Here's the new official home page of Ugnayang Pang-Aghamtao, Inc.