Recordings of past Pacific Circle Lectures can be found on our YouTube channel.
- Dr Francis A. Gealogo – Medicine, Martial Law, and Marcos in the Philippines, 1972-1986
Keynote lecture, History of Medicine in Southeast Asia (HOMSEA) conference (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 9 June 2023)
Dr Francis A. Gealogo (Ateneo de Manila University) presented the keynote lecture at the 2023 History of Medicine in Southeast Asia (HOMSEA) conference, which was sponsored by The Pacific Circle.
The Philippine experience of authoritarian rule under Ferdinand Marcos saw the engagement of different sectors and professionals dissenting against the imposition of Martial Law. Among the most prominent professionals in country who participated in the anti-dictatorship movement were the medical doctors and other health workers.
The paper will discuss the conditions of health and medical practice in the Philippines in the context of the circumstances that defined the experiences of the Filipinos under martial law, 1972-1986. Biographical sketches of prominent individuals like the medical doctors Juan Escandor (1941-1983) and Remberto de la Paz (1951-1982) – who will both be dissenting against the dictatorship and will be killed during the regime’s reign, will be discussed. Moreover, medical associations and community-based health organizations and public health campaigns launched by activist doctors and medical professionals during the martial law period, will be given due elaboration. The contexts that led to the political repression of these individuals, organizations and health campaigns by the agents of martial law will also be examined.
In the end, this period will be presented as part of the long history of political engagements of Filipino medical practitioners in different periods of Philippine national history, beginning with the nationalist ilustrado campaigns during the late nineteenth century (with Jose Rizal, Mariano Ponce and Dominador Gomez as among the more prominent personalities), up to the period of the Japanese occupation and the Cold War era in the Philippines.
- Dr Matthew M. Booker and Dr Kjell Ericson – The Seed Oyster Inspectors: Labour and Power in Transpacific Tidelands, 1945–1970s
Pacific Circle Lecture (31 May 2023)
For most of the half-century between the 1920s and 1970s, young “seed” oysters collected in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture were exported in huge quantities each winter and spring. Their primary destination was North America’s Washington State, where the tiny shellfish were grown, canned, sold, and eaten across the United States. In Washington, white growers rebranded magaki as Pacific oysters. These largely overlooked transpacific movements of “Pacific” oysters had profound consequences in Miyagi, Washington, and beyond. Focusing on the Miyagi-Washington seed oyster trade offers opportunities to examine ideas and practices of migration, transplantation, and exclusion across the Pacific.
In this lecture, Dr Matthew M. Booker (North Carolina State University) and Dr Kjell Ericson (Kyoto University) examine migration and environmental change from situated and transpacific perspectives. Their presentation addresses a specific puzzle of mobility, labor, and race along far-flung Pacific tidelands. After 1941, war and internment removed Japanese go-betweens from the existing transpacific seed oyster trade – and Japanese labourers from Washington State’s tidelands. But demand for seed oyster imports remained. What changed was that, after 1945, Washington State required inspection of oysters transplanted “within the state from without” for so-called Japanese oyster drills, shellfish-eating sea snails. Using the 1945 regulations as a pretext, from 1947 the Washington State Fisheries Department, in conjunction with major state oyster growers, sent state officials to Miyagi villages to inspect seed oysters for drills and other pests. Washington inspectors attempted to manage Miyagi tidelands in the name of protecting the state’s tidelands. In parallel, villagers and Tokyo officials pursued their own visions of export-based livelihoods and alternative modes of “Japanese” inspection. We explore the contexts behind, consequences of, and complex resistance to the Washington State inspections, which continued for thirty years into the 1970s.
- Dr Sophie Chao – Time Has Come to a Stop: Temporalities of Loss and Resistance on the West Papuan Plantation Frontier
Pacific Circle Lecture (30 March 2023)
In this lecture, Dr Sophie Chao (University of Sydney) presented research that forms part of her award winning book In The Shadow of the Palms: More Than Human Becomings in West Papua. Dr Chao discussed the conversion of over one million hectares of forest in West Papua to monocrop oil palm plantations without the free, prior, or informed consent of Indigenous Marind communities. Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork and prior investigative research conducted on the Papuan oil palm frontier, Dr Chao explores how Marind communities sense and make sense of the temporal transformations wrought by agroindustrial expansion, as these manifest within and across species lines and as these are shaped by Indigenous modes of historicity. In doing so, the lecture invites attention to how disempowered communities creatively harness hopelessness to reclaim the very terms of their existence, amidst and against attritive histories of ontological occupation, intergenerational injustice, and multispecies violence.
To learn more about Dr Chao’s research, read our interview.