Friday Forum: Dada Docot

Postcolonial Anxieties:
Two Stories from the Town of Dollars, Philippines

Dada Docot

Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
Purdue University

November 13, 2020
NOON – 1:30 P.M. (CST)
ONLINE PRESENTATION FOLLOWED BY Q&A

Co-sponsored by the Southeast Asia Research Group (SEARG)

 

Join via Zoom:
https://uwmadison.zoom.us/j/96651275186
Meeting ID: 966 5127 5186

 

In a recent opinion piece, I argued that attitudes of anti-Blackness among people of color such as Filipinos are linked to the formation of a consciousness that is rooted in discourses that privilege whiteness and that dehumanize the other. In this talk, I expand my arguments by introducing two stories from my own ethnography, which illustrate colorism in both the mundane and spectacular dimensions of daily life in my hometown in the Philippines. The first story is a scene from my film titled “Restless,” a documentation of my mother’s application for a US tourist visa, which illuminates insecurities related to a process that Frantz Fanon calls “epidermalization” – an inferiority complex related to skin color wrought by the colonial encounter. In the second story, I introduce the most significant monument in my hometown located at its heart, which I pair with the town’s foundation narrative that is affirmed in the collective memory during the annual town festival. Through this pairing, I trace the genealogies of colorism and anti-Blackness that reverberate in daily life in my hometown in the Philippines. These insecurities are nestled and cultivated for centuries, to the effect that now the formerly colonized peoples are still expected to seek a path that takes them closer to whiteness as a civilizational goal.

 

Dada Docot is a visual and cultural anthropologist in the Department of Anthropology at Purdue University whose research focuses on her hometown in the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora. Using both academic and public-facing spaces and multimedia, she contributes to the expansion of conversations on the postcolonial condition that is fatigued by multiple histories of colonization, enduring precarity, and growing global inequality. She can be seen on Twitter @dadadocot