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Spotlight on the Philippines


Places for Happiness: Community, Self and Performance in the Philippines
William Peterson

Places for Happiness explores two of the most important performance-based activities in the Philippines: the processions and Passion Plays associated with Easter and the mass-dance phenomenon known as “street dancing.” The scale of these hand-crafted performances in terms of duration, time commitment, and productive labor marks the Philippines as one of the world’s most significant and undervalued performance-centered cultures. Drawing on a decade of fieldwork, William Peterson examines how people come together in the streets or on temporary stages, celebrating a shared sense of community and creating places for happiness.

The first half of the book focuses on localized and often highly idiosyncratic versions of the Passion of Christ. Peterson considers not only what people do in these events, but what it feels like to participate. The second half provides a window into the many expressions of “street dancing.” Street dancing is inflected by localized indigenous and folk dance traditions that are reinforced at school and practiced in conjunction with religious civic festivals. Peterson identifies key frames that shape and contain the individual in the Philippines, while tracking how the local expands its expressive home by engaging in a dialogue with regional, national, and diasporic Filipino imaginaries.

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People’s Response to Disasters in the Philippines: Vulnerability, Capacities and Resilience (Disaster Studies)
JC Gaillard

People’s Response to Disasters in the Philippines examines the root causes of people’s vulnerability , capacities, and resilience in facing a wide range of different hazards. Gaillard examines people’s resilience in the aftermath of disasters, with a particular analysis of traditional societies and urban communities and the role of government policies, notably resettlement through geographical relocation. Gaillard successively addresses the roles of the structural features of the Philippine society, individuals’ risk perception, and the nature of people’s livelihoods. He underscores the Filipinos’ capacities to face natural hazards and disasters and suggests ways forward for integrating such capacities, including those of the most marginalized groups, in activities intended to prevent and cope with disasters.
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Global Filipinos: Migrants’ Lives in the Virtual Village
Deirdre McKay

Contract workers from the Philippines make up one of the world’s largest movements of temporary labor migrants. Deirdre McKay follows Filipino migrants from one rural community to work sites overseas and then home again. Focusing on the experiences of individuals, McKay interrogates current approaches to globalization, multi-sited research, subjectivity, and the village itself. She shows that rather than weakening village ties, temporary labor migration gives the village a new global dimension created in and through the relationships, imaginations, and faith of its members in its potential as a site for a better future.
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God’s Arbiters: Americans and the Philippines, 1898 – 1902
Susan K. Harris 

When the U.S. liberated the Philippines from Spanish rule in 1898, the exploit was hailed at home as a great moral victory, an instance of Uncle Sam freeing an oppressed country from colonial tyranny. The next move, however, was hotly contested: should the U.S. annex the archipelago? The disputants did agree on one point: that the United States was divinely appointed to bring democracy–and with it, white Protestant culture–to the rest of the world. They were, in the words of U.S. Senator Albert Beveridge, “God’s arbiters,” a civilizing force with a righteous role to play on the world stage.

Written with verve and animated by a wide range of archival research, God’s Arbiters reveals the roots of current debates over textbook content, evangelical politics, and American exceptionalism-shining light on our own times as it recreates the culture surrounding America’s global mission at the turn into the twentieth century.

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