Re-connect/Re-collect: Reparative Connections and Collections at the University of Michigan is a group of faculty, graduate students, and community elders committed to exploring and implementing decolonial and anti-racist policies and practices around the Philippine collections at the University of Michigan.
Our work is guided by the question: What constitutes reparative work to decolonize Michigan’s Philippine collections?
In May and June 2021, we are holding several roundtable and listening sessions that engage Philippine studies scholars, archivists, cultural heritage workers, activists, and members of the Filipino community here in Michigan to better understand what constitutes reparative approaches to the collections of materials (archives, photographs, objects, specimens, and human remains) acquired by the University over the course of the United States’ colonial rule in the Philippines. Our premise is that decolonial praxis relies on locally determined, culturally-specific and agreed-upon methods, rather than on those universally defined and enacted for every institution, culture, and community.
We are organizing these discussions into four themes that frame the complex issue of cultural representation and access to Philippine collections in ways that lead to reparative policies and actions:
- Defining Decolonial Approaches to Philippine Collections
- Articulating Institutional Obligations and Reparative Work
- Reimagining Community Engagement
- Centering Communities in Collections Representation
This project has received support from the University of Michigan’s Humanities Collaboratory.