Researchers share their work with the University community during the second day of Anthropology Research Presentation. Photos by Ago Tomas.

To provide an opportunity to share the fruits of their work with the University community, the Department of Anthropology and the Ateneo Institute of Anthropology (AIA) conducted a series of research paper presentations at the 7th Floor Finster Hall Boardroom last July 19 and 20.

The two-day affair gave the two bodies an opportunity to share a selection of their combined work with the University community, and more importantly, to benefit from the critical appreciation of academic colleagues and students from other disciplines in the University.

The series of presentations marked the commemoration of Anthropology Month, an annual event which the two bodies wish to institutionalize within the University.

The department has focused on training the next generation of Filipino anthropologists, and the Institute has developed and pursued its research focus on land and resource issues, and the combined efforts of these two bodies provide a synergy that encourages graduate students to engage in ethnographic projects alongside their mentors. They also enabled the faculty to enrich their instructional tasks with the realities of fieldwork.

As a result, the Institute and the Department have completed 9 research projects, within a span of only four years.

Most of these studies have clear implications for policy-making, and have been presented and discussed in various fora— from large-scale conferences to small community meetings.

The paper presentations were organized in terms of themes.  The first day focused on two papers on land and resource tenure and management, the central research agendum of the Institute.  The papers were results of the “Land Access Study on Indigenous Peoples Using Ethnographic Methods done in Malita, Davao Occidental, and Sen. Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat.

The researches were done to provide policy inputs in the further development of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-led community development programs particularly in IP communities.

For the second day, another two papers were presented on Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Processes, a theme that grows out of the two bodies of engagement with resource issues, and yet goes beyond it, to embrace other aspects of Philippine culture.

The first paper Revisiting the Tboli Sbu of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, Philippines:  Towards the Development of a Culture-Based Pedagogy and Curriculum for the Tboli Sbù Senior High School was a preliminary research done to support the ongoing partnership work on IP education in the area.

The second paper focused on Gender, Land Rights and Participatory Decision-Making, with a case study of the Dulangan Manobo and the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) in the renewal of an Industrial Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) in Sultan Kudarat.

Participants to the two-day presentation included graduate students from Anthropology and Theology (under the Saint Alphonsus Theological and Missiological Institute or SATMI ), friends from civil society, and faculty from the other departments.

The presentations hopefully enriched the University community’s appreciation of, and engagement with emergent and increasingly urgent conversations on peace and social justice, the environment, indigenous peoples’ rights, the concept of federalism, and indeed, the question of what it means to be a Filipino of the 21st century.

The Department of Anthropology and the AIA were both established in 2012, thanks to the vision and support of Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J.


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