Muslim Christian Relations In The S

Othering and recognition: Muslim-Christian relations in the Southern Philippines

Rosa Cordillera Castillo (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin)

Prior to the 1960s in the Cotabato region, the Southern Philippines, marking difference in terms of ethno-religious identity did not lead to widespread violence. But in the late 1960s and during the martial law years, religious difference became a focal point of people’s understanding of the violence that was beginning to engulf the region. Why and how did religious difference become powerful and salient among the populace during this period? How did the events of these years transform people’s relationships, sociality, and subjectivities, and continue to frame present-day events? And how, amid powerful social forces that threatened to rip communities apart, did my interlocutors persist in the present with everyday attempts at forging a sense of neighborliness with those who had become the Other? I try to answer these questions by interrogating the events of the late 1960s and martial law years based on my Muslim or Moro and Christian interlocutors’ narratives, memories, and understandings of the beginnings of widespread violence. I situate their narratives and lives in the broader social and political processes obtaining in Cotabato during these years and, through ethnographic fieldwork, understand the legacies of this period in present-day Muslim-Christian relations. I employ anthropological works on large-scale violence as an analytical lens to carefully contextualize the importance of social identities in violent situations. Crucial as well to my analysis of violence and the work of re-stitching relationships is the complex interplay of human sameness and difference, recognition, and reciprocity.

Rosa Cordillera Castillo is an Assistant Professor/Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from Freie Universität Berlin. Her dissertation (summa cum laude) “Being and Becoming: Imagination, Memory, and Violence in the Southern Philippines,” provides ethnographic insights into the lives of Moros, specifically Maguindanaon adherents of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who have lived through violence and the liminality of uncertain peace in the Cotabato region. Prior to moving to Berlin for her PhD studies, Rosa taught courses in anthropology at the University of the Philippines Diliman and Manila campuses from 2005 to 2011. She received her BA and MA degrees in anthropology at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Her research interests include violence, peace-making, subjectivity, memory, imagination, emotions, and temporality.

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