Students @ UP Asian Center Discuss Yoga in PHL; LGBT Pride March in Int'l Theater Conference

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UP Asian Center students, Bel Plotena and Gio Caliguia, presented their research at a three-day international conference, themed Bodies in/and Asian Theatres and held from 21 to 23 February 2018 at the Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman. 


Bodily Performance in the Philippines: The Case of Yoga by Bel Plotena, Student, MA in Asian Studies, specializing in South Asia.

Yoga is never only about health and wellness; class, economic status, gender and body image are equally integral to this Hindu practice. This paper traces the roots of, and explores, Yoga as an Indian performance. explores yoga as such. By using Kuan-Hsing Chen’s Asia as method, it also discusses how the concept of the Filipino body during the American colonial period affected the practice of yoga in the Philippines. In showing how yoga is a bodily performance, this study argues that interest in this practice can contribute to surfacing other paradigms in Asian and performance studies scholarship.

"Staging" Trouble: Performing Queer Bodies in the 2015 Metro Manila Pride March by Gio Caliguia, Student, MA in Philippine Studies

Celebrated as the first Pride in Asia, the annual Metro Manila Pride March has been staging protests for equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Filipinos. However, behind these colorful protests is the refracted context of postcolonial Philippines, which speaks of its troubled Asian-ness due to persisting hegemony of Western ideals.

The study argues that Pride parade performances of queer bodies "stage" the historical forces confining LGBTQ+ lives. Using a photo-ethnographic approach, I examine this encoding by  re/deconstructing the 2015 Metro Manila Pride March, an analysis that relies on photos, field notes, historical and LGBT-related literature, and contemporary testimonies of participants. Also, Ranciere’s theorizing on the “emancipated spectator” guides the deconstruction of twined histories of queer, Asian, and body politics at the Manila Pride. Analysis of emerging narratives shows the dominance of Western sex-gender models which supplant local queer categories such as bakla, tibo, and silahis, among others. The study suggests the necessity of interrogating the Pride March against the backdrop of these local queer identities, with their historical and lived experience, to bolster their always already creative, but remains in need of critical, politics.


‘Bodies in/and Asian Theatres’ is the theme of The Joint 2018 Asian Theatre Working Group Colloquium and International Federation for Theatre Research Regional Conference (IFTR-Asia). Learn more about the conference.


South Asian Studies is one of the areas of specialization under the Asian Studies graduate program of the UP Asian Center, while Society and Culture is one of three fields of expertise offered in the MA Philippine Studies program.

The UP Asian Center offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. The Center offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. Get an overview of these programs. The Asian Center also houses a peer-reviewed, open-access journal, Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia. It has published several books and monographs, and hosts or organizes various lectures and conferences.  

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