In the first three decades of the 20th century the United States ruled the Philippines including the predominantly Islamic southern parts of Mindanao and Sulu. Viewed by the new colonizers as requiring more 'training' in the arts of civilization than the Christian Filipinos, Muslim Filipinos, or Moros, were first subjected to American military, followed by civilian rule with appointed local leaders. Christian Filipinos to the north, meanwhile, enjoyed elections within the first decade of the colonial regime and a legislature with steadily increasing powers in the next. In an effort to reinforce their authority and to advance the development of the colonial state, American administrators proceeded to curtail the influence of the datus - traditional headmen - who held political, economic and juridical power in a decentralized and competitive political system. This removed a key mediatory mechanism in Moro society, which in combination with the co-optation of some members of the Moro elite led to a narrowing of fora for competition and dissent, precipitating a transformation of the dynamics of power in Mindanao and Sulu. This presentation will explore the dimensions of this transformation and its impact on the conceptualization of political expression in Moro society during American colonial rule.
Cesar Andres-Miguel Suva is a PhD Candidate and holds a Teaching Fellowship in the School of Culture, History and Language at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University. He came to the ANU via an Honours degree in History from the University of Calgary, Canada and an MA from the University of the Philippines.
The Philippine Studies Group is an organization of students, professionals and residents in ACT based at the Department of Politics and Social Change, ANU. The potluck seminar is open to everyone. Please bring a dish to share.