Anthropologists gather for “Reflecting on Disasters” forum in DC

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 July) — In celebration of Philippine Anthropology Day, anthropologists and anthropology students as well as representatives from other disciplines, will gather at the Ateneo de Davao University for a forum on disasters and disaster response on July 21 and 22.

The forum, “Reflecting on Disasters,” aims to involve various disciplines to “explicitly engage ground findings with emergent conceptual frames that the respective disciplines offer” in dealing with disasters and disaster response.

Disasters wrought by super typhoons Pablo on December 4, 2012 and Yolanda on November 8, 2013 will be discussed along with the Zamboanga standoff in September 2013.

anthro-disaster“The Trouble with Categories of Persons in Post-Conflict Zamboanga” is the title of the presentation of Jowel Canuday, a journalist who recently finished his Doctorate in Anthropology at Oxford University and is now a professor at the Ateneo de Manila University. Canuday’s presentation will be in the morning session on July 21 with open discussion to be led by Mussolini Lidasan of Al Qalam Institute and Carolyn O. Arguillas of MindaNews.

The afternoon session will have Redemptorist Brother Karl Gaspar, PhD, acting dean of the St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Institute and Professor at the Ateneo Institute of Anthropology, who will discuss “Faith Engaging Disasters: Hope beyond the Yolanda Survivors’ Lamentations.” Open discussion will be led by EJ Sabado, Assistant Dean of the Ateneo de Davao University’s Social Science Cluster and Billy de la Rosa, Programme Manager of the ICCO Typhoon Yolanda Programme.

On Tuesday morning, independent consultant Mags Maglana, a student of MA in Anthropology at the Ateneo Institue of Anthropology, will tackle super typhoon Pablo with her presentation of “Disaster Resistance: Initial Explorations of Resistance as Disaster Response.” Open discussion will be led by Hadji Balajadia of COPERS,

TropICS’ Director Let Simpol, and Fr. Caloy Ronquillo, CSsR of SATMI.

Dr. Rosalinda Tomas will provide the synthesis of the two-day forum in the afternoon of July 22.

The objectives of the forum include the following: “to problematize the theories that have guided the discourses related to disasters / catastrophes in terms of their causes, the regularity of their occurrence and the extent of their devastation in all aspects of human life; based on experiences and observations, to share and critique the different approaches to disaster response that various agencies (international and local aid agencies, government and civil society) have been engaged in towards identifying where the gaps are; and to listen to the voices from the margins – especially the survivors – and reflect on what have been the strengths and weaknesses of the academe’s engagement in disaster response; and to bring together the perspectives of the various disciplines in a manner that could better respond to the needs of our communities as they seek to respond better when catastrophes take place as well as to disaster risk reduction and management.”

Reflecting on Disasters will be held at F705-A, Finster Hall, Ateneo de Davao University. (MindaNews)