I've been in Prague since Tuesday attending the annual Critical Theory conference, where colleagues Kelly Agra (UP-Baguio and University College Dublin), PJ Mariano Capistrano (Ateneo de Manila and University of Namur), Dr. Darlene Demandante (University of Santo Tomas), Dr. Lovelyn Paclibar (Ateneo de Manila) and Marga Taganas (UP-Los Baños) and I had the opportunity to present our collaborative work across two panels.
Along with other colleagues who were not able to come (Raphaella Miranda and Cassandra Teodosio), the six of us have been working together for over a year collaborating on a project, "The Philippine Condition: Threads of Critical and Feminist Contentions," preparing a suite of papers that does critical social theory (broadly construed) from a Philippine perspective.
In the first panel, moderated by Maeve Cooke (University College Dublin), Kelly gave an overview of our project, Darlene shared her paper written from the context of D/uter/te's war on drugs, inquiring into the possibility that dead bodies are political agents, and Lovelyn argued, contra traditional Frankfurt School conceptions of criticality, that kwentuhan be viewed as a form of critical discourse.
In the second panel, moderated by James Ingram (McMaster University), I talked about how decolonizing the Philippine concept of national identity requires untangling it from the colonial logics with which it was deployed in education during the American colonial era; PJ talked about her project that investigates how the experiences of small corn farmers in Upper Pulangi challenge conventional concepts of structural justice and agency; Marga argued for the importance of motherhood studies in Philippine feminist discourse.
It's been an excellent experience. The atmosphere is constructive and helpful. Senior colleagues (including many of whom we were starstruck to meet) have been supportive about our work, and many of the keynotes have felt like masterclasses.
(Thanks of course to Kelly for making this happen, and our Women Doing Philosophy colleagues for the support. Apart from this conference, we have also been presenting our work across a series of public webinars, the next one which will be on 3 June.)