In May and June 2021, we held 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 was 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 organized 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
- Centering Communities in Collections Representation
- Reimagining Community Engagement
This project has received support from the University of Michigan’s Humanities Collaboratory.