Who We Are

This project brings together various constituencies who are otherwise unable to work collaboratively given institutional and academic barriers, with faculty and staff from the University of Michigan’s School of Information, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Department of History, Museum Studies ProgramBentley Historical LibrarySpecial Collections Research Center, and Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. We represent diverse, yet related scholars and archivists/librarians in leadership positions, students, and members of the Filipinx community working across institutional and academic boundaries.

For inquiries, please email us at: Reconnect-Recollect@umich.edu.


Madeline Bacolor is a 2021 graduate of the University of Michigan’s Program in the Environment. She is also a Filipina American who studied Philippine history and Filipino American culture during her undergraduate career. Her interests are in community engagement, accessibility to and ethics of colonial materials, and Filipinos in urban spaces. She wrote her honors thesis about Manilatown in San Francisco and its residents’ struggle against urban renewal. 


Dr. Kerstin Barndt is a literary scholar, cultural historian, and curator who studies German and European literary and visual cultures of the long twentieth century with a current emphasis on museum history and exhibition culture. In her work and publications, she engages history exhibitions as an aesthetic form of knowledge production that serves a variety of community, geo-political, and memory aims. Examining the extended museum boom since the 1990s, Barndt focuses on the articulation of often contradictory temporal and historiographical concerns: from the deep time of nature to the anthropocene, from the history of war and genocide to deindustrialization and migration, and the temporal affect of collective and individual memory. Barndt has also worked on a number of exhibition projects in Berlin, Dresden, Grand Rapids, and most recently in Ann Arbor, where Object Lessons. Recollecting Museum Histories at Michigan showed at the U-M Museum of Natural History in 2017.


Nancy Bartlett is Associate Director of the Bentley Historical Library. A Fellow of the Society of American Archivists, she has written and edited extensively on archives and architecture, the cultural conditions of archives, and the history of archival principles including archival provenance. She was a member of the Bentley Historical Library research team investigating “Engaging the Archives: New Partnerships and Understandings of Teaching and Learning with Primary Sources.” This five-year project, begun in 2015, was made possible by the University of Michigan Third Century Initiative.  A resulting publication, titled “Teaching Undergraduates with Archives,” is co-edited by Nancy Bartlett, Elizabeth Gadelha, and Cinda Nofziger.  The volume is available from Michigan Publishing.  Bartlett has curated exhibitions including “Constructing Gender: The Origins of Michigan’s Union and League,” at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and lectured on Michigan modernism in architecture. She was the Bentley Historical Library administrator of a joint seminar held annually, from 1999 to 2015, with the State Archives Administration of China.


Martha O’Hara Conway is Director of the Special Collections Research Center in the University of Michigan Library. In this capacity, she provides vision, leadership, strategic direction, and administrative oversight for the operations, services, programs, and resources of the Special Collections Research Center, which holds important collections of unique, rare, primary source, and other material in all formats and in a variety of subject areas, including American culinary history; anarchism, radicalism, and social protest; children’s literature; Philippine history; the early histories of astronomy, mathematics, and medicine; and transportation history.

Martha has curated several exhibitions, including Storied Acquisitions: Highlights from the University of Michigan Library Collections, and authored or contributed to a number of publications, including The Practice, Power, and Promise of Archival Collections Assessment and, most recently, Total Cost of Stewardship: Responsible Collection Building in Archives and Special Collections, which consists of a framework and a suite of tools that support the operationalization of an ethical, informed, and resource-sensitive approach to acquiring, managing, and caring for collections. Martha worked previously for the Newberry Library and at Yale University Library and the Library of Congress. She has a BA from Mount Holyoke College and an MILS from the University of Michigan.


Dr. Deirdre De La Cruz, Associate Professor of Southeast Asian Studies and Associate Professor of History, is an historian and cultural anthropologist of the Philippines, with an interest in the transformation of religious sensibilities, beliefs, and phenomena in the 19th and 20th centuries. Specifically, her work examines different varieties of Filipino Christianity through their material, textual, and technological mediations. Her approach to these subjects departs from the premise that the Philippines is a highly productive site for comparative and interdisciplinary inquiry, and thus her work situates the Philippines and Filipinos in relationship to other worlds and communities—be they defined by empire, Christian mission, or diaspora—in ways that unsettle claims often made about Filipino culture and history.

In the last few years, Deirdre has turned her attention to the vast collections of Philippine materials at the University of Michigan. In 2019, she directed a group of undergraduate students in an immersive, eight-week research fellowship at the Bentley Historical Library which produced a website of student-authored essays on the colonial relationship between the Philippines and the University of Michigan. This experience led her to an on-going exploration of related questions and concerns, including affect as archival object and archival method, translingualism in the imperial archives, and how to decenter the US in US empire studies.


Robert Diaz is a second-year doctoral student in the Department of History. His research focuses on the intersections of Spanish and American imperialism; the history of science, medicine, and technology; and subaltern studies in the Pacific World in the 19th and early 20th centuries. His work seeks to decentralize the historiographical emphasis on the imperialist goals of the United States by focusing on peoples in the Pacific World living within U.S. colonial regimes. 

Robert earned his B.A. in political science and history and his M.A. in history from the University of Texas at El Paso. In 2018, he was the youngest president elected to the board of the El Paso County Historical Society, a nonprofit archive founded in 1954. Between 2019 and 2020, he served the Student Conservation Association/AmeriCorps at Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, working on two permanent exhibits. Robert is also an incoming Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies Graduate Student Research Fellow (2021-2022 academic year). 


Chad Kamen is a first year Master of Information student at the University of Michigan. Through pursuing the School of Information’s digital curation track, he hopes to focus his studies on how community-centered archives develop reparative classification and metadata practices. Before coming to Michigan, Chad worked on a variety of different archival projects at the University of Virginia, including a year-long collaborative effort to build an exhibition of the University’s multitude of queer histories. He is excited to carry this experience forward as a research assistant for the ReConnect/ReCollect team.


Jim Moss is a collections manager at the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology (UMMAA). Jim engages students through object-based learning. He connects researchers and community members with UMMAA’s archaeological and ethnographic collections. His work in the digital humanities seeks to expand awareness and access to museum collections and documentation through respectful and ethical curation, while attempting to address colonial and institutional harm caused by past and present curation practices. 


Emily Na is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of American Culture at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on the contemporary memory of slavery through literature, visual culture, and museums. Her dissertation, currently titled “Beyond the Plantation Fixation: Public Sites of Slavery and Their Rival Geographies,” is an interdisciplinary inquiry into the relationship between fictional narratives of slavery and public plantation sites. She is excited to bring her background in the history of slavery and issues of redress to this project on the collective recognition of the university’s harm toward Filipino collections. Emily’s work has been featured in the James Baldwin Review and online with Public Books.


Sony Prosper is a Ph.D. in Information student at the University of Michigan. He is also pursuing a graduate certificate in Museum Studies. His interests are broadly the social, cultural, and historical contexts of intangible cultural heritage, archival practices, recordkeeping practices, museum practices, and technology use, particularly in the U.S. and the Caribbean. He is currently interested in examining two research threads. The first is how members and volunteers of nontraditional, community-based, and grassroots archives conceptualize records and how these conceptualizations inform archival programs and practices in the U.S. The second is the repatriation of cultural heritage material, particularly to Haiti.

Before being a Ph.D. student, Sony worked at the University of Virginia Library, where his work included collection development, exhibition curation, instruction, and outreach. He holds a Master of Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archives Management from Simmons University (formerly known as Simmons College).


Dr. Ricardo “Ricky” Punzalan, Associate Professor of Information and steering committee member of the Museum Studies Program at the University of Michigan, is a scholar of archives and digital curation. In particular, he studies the access and use of digitized anthropological archives and ethnographic data on academic and Indigenous researchers. He believes that archives and legacy research data must not only advance academic research, but also contribute to the wellbeing of communities. His research has had the greatest impact in the area of virtual reunification and digital repatriation of cultural heritage collections. This research brought to the fore a critical challenge faced by underserved and Indigenous communities and created dialogs between communities and cultural institutions. To do this work, he designs and carries out community-based, participatory research projects, which incorporate the perspectives of cultural heritage stakeholders beyond academic researchers. He is currently a research associate at the Smithsonian’s National Anthropological Archives and Council member of the Society of American Archivists.


Kristi Rhead is a Ph.D. Student in Anthropology and History at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on the politics of commemoration in the French postcolony, principally the Indian Ocean and Réunion Island. Focusing on the successes and failures of innovative commemoration projects (e.g., museums, monument (de)construction, school curriculum, public art), she studies post-imperial cultural and political sovereignty in the unique context of the Southern Indian Ocean. As the Project Coordinator and Archivist for ReCollect/ ReConnect, Kristi is excited to make connections between French and US island empires and to contribute to the project’s mission to help build a reproducible approach to cultural heritage that honors global interactions and interdependencies in a way that is equitable and reparative, rather than harmful, presumptive, or based in unjust power dynamics.

Before becoming a Ph.D. student, Kristi received her M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and her B.A. in International Studies and French from Johns Hopkins University. She has experience teaching in French Guiana, Kyrgyzstan, Réunion Island, and her home state of Utah.


Nick Trudeau is a PhD candidate in the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. His research focuses on social change and the exchange of culture between Indigenous populations and Europeans in the Great Lakes Region during the 14th-17th centuries. He has also used his work to teach communities about their connections to and responsibilities toward Indigenous archaeological sites as a means to repair relationships between descendant Native American communities and the people living on their ancestral homelands. As a collections assistant for the ReConnect/ReCollect project he is excited to help build and repair relationships between the University of Michigan and the Filipino community.


External Advisory Board

Dr. Stephen Acabado is an anthropological archaeologist whose research focuses on Southeast Asian agricultural systems. He received my PhD in Anthropology from the University of Hawaii-Manoa in 2010 and was hired by the University of Guam as an assistant professor at the same year. In 2013 he joined the Department of Anthropology, University of California at Los Angeles. He directs the Ifugao Archaeological Project (IAP).
 
Dr. Acabado’s research continues to engage archaeological issues that focus on colonialism, culture contact, and Indigenous empowerment. Although the bulk of this research has emphasized the unique responses of the Ifugao, he has recently expanded his investigations of Iberian colonialism in Asia by theorizing how Filipinos responded and coopted the colonial aims. This work contributes to a better understanding of the Early Modern Period (EMP) (1400-1820) in Southeast Asia (SEA), a region that played a major role in the rise of European mercantilism in the 17th century. Ironically, this time period in SEA is poorly understood. 


Dr. Oona Paredes specializes in the study of upland peoples in Southeast Asia, focusing on the indigenous Higaunon Lumads of northern Mindanao since 1995. She grew up in the Philippines but moved to the USA after finishing high school. She studied Anthropology and History at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa for my B.A., then pursued graduate studies in Socio-Cultural Anthropology at Arizona State University, completing my Ph.D. in 2008. She is also a graduate of IDHA 22 (2007), a program in humanitarian assistance convened by Fordham University’s International Institute of Humanitarian Affairs. 

In July 2019, she officially joined the UCLA Department of Asian Languages and Cultures as an Assistant Professor. Previously, she was at the National University of Singapore in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies (2011-2019), and an adjunct Research Associate in Anthropology and Religious Studies at the University of Missouri. In the Fall of 2017 she was the inaugural Strom Visiting Professor in History at the University of Toronto. Last but not least, she is also a native Mindanawon — from Misamis Oriental province, where she spent her formative years.


Liza Posas has been working with the Autry Museum of the American West since 2005. She currently serves as the Head of Research Services and Archives at the Autry. She received her Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) in 2002 from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In 2003, UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) Libraries awarded her with a 2-year Library Residency designed to increase the diversity of the library profession and to encourage participation of underrepresented groups in academic libraries. In the last few years, she has concentrated in developing procedures and practices with her colleagues related to proper and ethical stewardship for collections that contain culturally sensitive information or restricted tribal knowledge.  

In addition, she holds a part-time faculty position with the USC Libraries as the LA as Subject (LAAS) Coordinator. LA as Subject is a collaborative network hosted by the USC Libraries that works to promote and preserve the rich history of Los Angeles and Southern California. To this end, shee facilitates collaborative projects with different organizations and individuals within the LAAS membership. These projects include the LA as Subject Resident Archivist program, federally funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the “Monomania LA” video series funded by CalHumanties, and the annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar co-hosted with the USC Libraries.


Dr. Ana Maria Theresa P. Labrador is the Deputy Director-General for Museums at the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP), where she is responsible for research development, museology and technical assistance. Her role as chief curator and head of collections management is to make National Collections and sites accessible to audiences of four flagship museums in Manila and 15 NMPs in different parts of the country.

Her latest projects amid the pandemic are the following physical exhibitions: Larawan at Litrato: Foto-óleo and Picture Portraits in the Philippines (1891-1953), which opened virtually on October 29, 2020, and The Philippine Center New York Core Collection of 1974: A Homecoming Exhibition, which was launched on February 15, 2021, both at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila. She is also supervising installation of exhibitions in 5 regional National Museums, two of which have been completed on December 15, 2020, and opened March 29, 2021, in Boac, Marinduque. While some NMPs are still closed or open at limited capacity, she has been working with its digital content team to ensure access to collections, research and publications, which can be accessed at http://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph.

Dr. Labrador has published in international journals and edited books on anthropology, art and museology. She is also a member of the board of editors of Museum International, Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship, and Journal of Sociomuseology. Her recent contributions include co-authoring the monograph of the Basi Revolt Painting (2020) – a 200-year-old oil on canvas series of artworks commissioned by Esteban Villanueva, and a chapter in the book Animist Art in Southeast Asia published in Bangkok by SEAMEO SPAFA in 2021, entitled Babaylan in Philippine Communities: liminality, myth and inspiration”.

A social anthropologist and museologist by training, she obtained a PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2000 and a MA in Museum and Gallery Management from the City, University of London in 1991. Before joining the NMP, she taught for 22 years at the University of the Philippines at Diliman and Ateneo de Manila University. She is presently a member of the International Council of Museum’s Standing Committee for Museum Definition, Prospects and Potentials, which is shaping a new definition for museums worldwide.


Joseph (“JoJo”) Ruanto-Ramirez (he/they) is Tuwali Ifugao (Lagawe, Ifugao), and Ilokano (San Esteban, Ilocos Sur) on his father’s side; and Tina-Hambali and Aballen Sambal-Ita (Dirita – Iba, Zambales), and Iranun (Maguindanao) on his mother’s side. J.A. is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Claremont Graduate University in Cultural Studies with American Studies. They earned their Master’s in Sociological Practice from California State University, San Marcos and wrote their thesis titled, Locating Their Penis: Pilipino American College Male Performativity, Sexuality, & the “Bahag Syndrome”; and they earned their Bachelor’s from the University of California, San Diego. J.A. currently resides in San Diego, California on occupied Kumeyaay land, and is the advisor of the Student Initiated Access Programs and Services (SIAPS) a component of UCSD SPACES.


Dr. Analyn Salvador-Amores is professor of Anthropology and Director of the Museo Kordilyera, the ethnographic museum of the University of the Philippines Baguio. She is an anthropologist and continues to conduct research in the archives and museums in the US and Europe, reconnecting historical documents, archival photographs and material culture to source communities in Northern Luzon through digital repatriation. As a curator, she mounted exhibitions for the Museo Kordilyera since 2015 to the present: Batok (Tattoos): Body as Archive, Feasts of Merit: Wealth, Status, and Feasting in the Luzon Cordillera and the most recent one on Cordillera Textiles, entitled Handwoven Tales: The Warp and Weft of Cordillera Textiles. She is the Project Leader of the Cordillera Textiles Project (CordiTex) composed of an interdisciplinary team conducting research on traditional and contemporary textiles in Northern Luzon.

She earned her masters and doctorate in Social and Cultural Anthropology from Oxford University, UK. Her research interest includes non-Western aesthetics, material culture, ethnographic museums and colonial photography in the Philippine Cordillera. Included in her work is the award-winning book: Tapping Ink, Tattooing Identities: Tradition and Modernity in Contemporary Kalinga Society published by the University of Philippines Press in 2013 (National Book Development Award, 2013 and National Academy of Science and Technology, 2016).  As a public service professor, she continues to engage indigenous communities in her work, and promoting indigenous knowledge in different platforms. She actively carries out anthropological fieldwork among the indigenous communities in Northern Luzon, and have published extensively on this subject.


Josephine (Arjho) Caturan Latimban Cariño Turner is an immigrant from the Philippines who currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia, as a US citizen. Married and the mother of two young children, she is proud of her heritage belonging to the Blaan Indigenous Peoples group of south-central Mindanao. 

Turner graduated with a BS in Agriculture majoring in Plant Pathology from the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB) and later earned her Master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources Management from U.P. Open University (UPOU). Recently, she was awarded the Public Leadership Credential (PLC) by the Harvard Kennedy School.

Before immigrating to the USA in 2006, she worked in the Sarangani Province as the Luntiang Lumad Project Manager. Following that role, she worked as the Indigenous Peoples Development Program Manager. She co-authored scientific research publications on the subject of traditional upland rice varieties grown in the hinterlands of Sarangani Province as part of a partnership with researchers and professors of Mindanao State University in General Santos City. As a cultural advocate and co-founder of the KafyeBlaan Empowerment, Inc., she created and maintained cultural advocacy websites and Facebook pages highlighting cultural masters and their skills transfer specific to Indigenous Peoples cultures from her home Region. She is currently engaged by the Philippine Senate Committee on Cultural Communities as a member of the Technical Working Group for the Community Intellectual Rights of Indigenous Cultural Communities and the Indigenous Peoples Act and the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Act. In addition to serving as a Member of the Board for three non-profit organizations, Turner is a business owner, Founder and CEO of ACT International Consulting, LLC, an educational consultancy providing online mentoring for leadership, program and project management and agile coaching. Currently, she is the Eduhubspot Program Manager for Southeast Asia Region.


Adelwisa L. Agas Weller, sometimes known as “Deling,” turned 80 years old this year (2021). She taught Filipino Language and Culture and served as mentor to undergraduate and graduate student researchers of Philippine Studies at the University of Michigan (UM). She retired in 2006. Before then she taught courses in Public Administration and Social Research and Statistics while performing personnel and research administrative work at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Metro Manila. She had her undergraduate and a graduate degree from UP, and two graduate degrees from UM. A resident of Ann Arbor, MI since 1980, she has been active in Filipino/Filipino-American community building since coming here as a student in 1968.


James Beni Wilson is an independent documentary filmmaker from Metro Detroit. His film, “BINITAY: Journey of a Filipino Adoptee,” tells the story of his journey as a Filipino adoptee in search of his birth story and birth family. His film has been shown at Harvard, Schoolcraft Community College, the Minnesota Transracial Film Festival, Philippine American Community Center of Michigan, and the Filipino Heritage Camp at Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families. His sequel documentary, Once Upon An Ochia, highlights the post-reunion relationship, sociocultural challenges, and collective narratives of his biological family.

James was born in the village Mábuli in Tabógon, on the island of Cebu, in the Philippines. He was transracially adopted at the age of three years old. He received his Bachelor of Science in Sociology at Arizona State University and is a Learning Assistant Coordinator at the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA). James is a Board Member and Youth Chair Liaison of the Filipino American Community Council of Michigan (FILAMCCO). He also serves as a Board Member of the Philippine American Community Center of Michigan (PACCM), Secretary of the Michigan Chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHSMI). He was a past assistant director of Paaralang Pilipino (Filipino School) at the PACCM where he is also the lead facilitator and teacher for the Filipino Youth Initiative (FYI). He is also active in the larger Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) community. James serves as a Board Member for American Citizens for Justice (ACJ), which formed after the murder of Vincent Chin back in 1982. In 2013, James was awarded the “Rising Star” award by APIA-Vote Michigan for his dedication and leadership in the APIA community.

James utilizes his blog space, “Pathos of Asian Adoptees,” as a space for dialogue between Asian adoptees, adoptive parents, and larger communities. “Pathos of Asian Adoptees” serves as a hub for shared information about Asian adoption studies, culture, socio-historical and sociocultural context sociocultural context.