Radical Hope Lunchtime Lecture: Colonialism without Colonisation: Diverse Responses to Spanish Colonialism in the Philippines

Tuesday 11 October, 13.00 - 14.00

With Prof. Stephen Acabado (UCLA) in partnership with the School of Archaeology

Join celebrated anthropological archaeologist, Prof. Stephen Acabado, who will discuss how the expansion of the Spanish empire in the late 16th century spelled doom to most indigenous polities in the Philippines. Explore exceptions such as the Cordillera highlands, where the colonial government never managed to established a permanent presence during their 333-year reign.

The expansion of the Spanish empire in the late 16th century spelled doom to most indigenous polities in the Philippines. The colonial government, however, never established a permanent presence in the Cordillera highlands during their 333-year reign. The Ifugao, in particular, were able to repel multiple attempts by the Spanish at conquest. The culture-contact between the colonising power and local Ifugao communities resulted in the rapid economic and political transformations in the region; changes that were likely due to the Spanish presence in the adjacent lowlands. Using the concept of pericolonialism, this presentation focuses on the responses of indigenous peoples in the highland Philippines, who appear to have resisted/endured Spanish cooptation. These populations are on the periphery of Spanish conquest but were heavily affected by conquest. The archaeological record suggests rapid political and economic shifts occurred in the region that coincided with the arrival of the Spanish in the adjacent lowlands. Recent archaeological work in Bicol, a lowland region placed under Spanish administration within two years of contact, also suggest a dynamic response to conquest and colonialism. Bicol populations were resettled in centralised towns and cities through the reduccion policy, but they continued to practise indigenous life ways under Spanish influence. Undeniably, colonisation disrupted the local patterns of behaviour. However, it also provided space for new practices and traditions to emerge. This presentation therefore, calls for a rethinking of the concept of resistance and underscores the importance of maintenance of identities, religious continuity, food choices and differential power relationships among indigenous groups in colonised settings.

No need to book. Bring your lunch and join us in the Pitt Rivers Museum Lecture Theatre.

Next event in the series:

Panel discussion: Who owns the past?, Wednesday 12 October 2022, 14.00 -16.00

With: Prof. Stephen Acabado, Prof. Shadreck Chirikure, Prof. Dan Hicks, Dr. Alexander Geurds, Dr. Oliver Cox, Prof. Heather Viles, Dr. Anke Hein, Dr. Christopher J. Foster.


Radical Hope: We're inviting visitors to connect with the themes driving Pitt Rivers Museum's 2022 research, curation and engagement programmes: immerse yourself in the Play! Project; deconstruct stereotypes as we move Beyond Binaries; join us in Radical Hope to imagine equitable and decolonised heritage spaces; and see a different side to the collections through Museums at Night.