Episode 134 – Philippine Archaeology and the Ifugao Rice Terraces with Stephen Acabado (Social Distance Series)
Did you know that the Banaue Rice Terraces are actually only approximately 200-300 years old hundred years old, and not 2,000 years old as many people believe? Did you know that the “Wave Migrations” theory of the people-ing of the Philippines has no archaeological basis and is fundamentally racist? Some of these Philippine nationalist narratives have been passed down for generations, including to many Filipino Americans. However, many of these narratives are myths, clouding our knowledge of our history and our identities as Filipinos and Filipino Americans. Indeed, the more we uncover about our history, the more complicated it becomes.
In this TFAL episode, Joe interviews Professor Stephen Acabado, Associate Professor of Anthropology at UCLA, and how his work complicates common narratives in Philippine history. Professor Acabado takes the time to discuss how Indiana Jones inspired his career as an archaeologist, his research in the Ifugao region and the proper aging of the famed Rice Terraces, the various ways the Ifugao people used the building of the Rice Terraces to resist Spanish colonialism, and the role archaeologists must play in honoring and working with the communities they study. He also gives us his quick take on the ongoing controversy of Christianized Filipinos consuming and appropriating the cultures of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines. For those interested in Philippine history, you won’t want to miss this episode.
For a brief visual explanation of the old Kiyyangan village discussed in the episode, which illustrates how the Ifugao peoples resisted Spanish colonialism through the construction of the Rice Terraces, check out this video:
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