Philippine Scholars between Manila and Chicago: A History of the Social Sciences, Decolonization, and the Cold War

Friday, 20 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Christa WIRTH, University of Zurich, Switzerland

This paper explores the creation and circulation of social scientific knowledge about Philippine society, history, and culture between Chicago and Manila. This analysis unfolds in a postcolonial time frame and at the nexus of the Cold War, decolonization, and development efforts in the so-called Third World. At the heart of this paper lie Philippine social scientists, mainly anthropologists, who rotated within transpacific academic networks between the University of Chicago, the University of the Philippines at Manila, and the Ateneo de Manila. The late 1950s and early 1960s are particularly important because it was during this time that the first generation of highly trained Philippine academics returned to the archipelago from the U.S. and taught the following Philippine generations of social scientists.[1] The University of Chicago was the place where this first generation earned its Masters’ degrees and Doctorates.

This paper traces the intellectual and migratory Philippine biographies of the Chicago alumni F. Landa Jocano, Arsenio Manuel, David Barradas, and Alfredo E. Evangelista who were central individuals within the transpacific social scientific community. The main questions are: What kind of social scientific—mainly anthropological—knowledge about the Philippines did these scholars create? How did this knowledge circulate between the U.S. and the Philippines? In addition, how did these academics contribute to “Cold War social science”[2] and to decolonization efforts?

The sources analyzed for this paper will be letters, (un)published publications, notes, reports, government documents, and photographs.

[1] Bautista Banzon, Ma. Cynthia Rose. The Social Sciences in the Philippines: Reflections on Trends and Developments. In: Philippine Studies, 48, 2000/2, p. 178.

[2] On Cold War social sciences, see, for example, Isaac, Joel. Introduction: The Human Sciences and Cold War America. In: Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 47, 2011, pp. 225-231.