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Dr. Rosa Cordillera A. Castillo

Institut für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie


Lehrvertretung Prof. Dilger im WS 22/23 (15.10.2022 - 31-03-2023)

Rosa Cordillera A. Castillo is a sociocultural anthropologist and publicly engaged scholar. She works on the anthropology of imagination and memory and peace and conflict studies, with a particular focus on violence and subjectivity, othering, moral and ethical self-formation, affect and emotions, resistance, and solidarity in national and transnational contexts. She is also interested in and writes on decoloniality, critical research ethics, engaged scholarship, anthropology of Islam, and state and religion.  She is committed to decolonial and reflexive pedagogy and knowledge production, cultivating critical ethical research, and multi-sensorial and research-based modes of learning that engage broader publics particularly on issues related to violence, human rights, inequalities, and discrimination. 

She obtained her PhD in Anthropology with a summa cum laude distinction in 2017 from the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology and the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies(BGSMCS), Freie Universität Berlin. Her dissertation “Being and Becoming: Imagination, Memory, and Violence in the Southern Philippines” provides ethnographic insights into the lives of Moros, specifically Maguindanaon adherents of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who have lived through violence and the liminality of uncertain peace in the Cotabato region. She explores the workings of imagination in the formation of subjectivities and in the (un)making of the Bangsamoro imagined community, by giving attention to imagination’s links with memory, temporality, emotions, and action. Through this lens, she examines the dialectical relationship between the individual and the collective, Muslim-Christian relations, modes of belonging, aspirations, resistance, peace, and future-making, the co-implication of past, present, and future in people’s subjectivities and in an imagined community, as well as acts of exclusion and violence. Other threads that run through this project are processes of (mis)recognition, the emergence and traction of violent othering, ethical self-formation, the everyday work of living side-by-side in the aftermath of conflict, and the re-imagining of "the other" as an ethical being. Rosa has published and given public lectures on various aspects of this work, which she is currently transforming into a book. 

Her doctoral research project was supervised by Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Dilger (Freie Universität Berlin), Prof. Dr. Vincent Houben (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin), and Dr. Richard Baxstrom (University of Edinburgh). She was awarded a German Research Foundation Excellence Initiative scholarship through the BGSMCS from 2011 to 2015. 

Rosa is currently conducting research on arts of transnational solidarity and resistance amid Rodrigo Duterte's "war on drugs" as well as on diasporic solidarity during the pandemic. She is also continuing her work on the southern Philippines on the new political entity Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

She was born and raised in the Philippines where she finished her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology (magna cum laude) and Masters in Anthropology (excellent GWA) at the University of the Philippines Diliman. She previously conducted research on the life world of compressor fishers, indigenous peoples’ rights, and gender-based barriers to access to healthcare and medicine in India and China, among others. She also does engaged research for NGOs and communities. Prior to moving to Berlin for her PhD studies, Rosa was a lecturer, instructor, and assistant professor in anthropology at the University of the Philippines Diliman and Manila campuses from 2005 to 2011.  

She founded and curates the Philippine Studies Series Berlin, a platform for lectures, discussions, and art and film events regarding the Philippines, Filipina/o/x, and the diaspora. Rosa also conceptualises and manages the project Advancing Philippines Studies at HU Berlin. She furthermore co-established the Negotiating Research Ethics initiative at HU-IAAW with PD. Dr. Andrea Fleschenberg dos Ramos Pinéu and Dr. Sarah Holz, and is an associate investigator of the Berlin University Alliance-funded project Co2Libri - Conceptual Collaboration: Living Borderless Research Interaction. And together with Dr. Jonas Bens, Dr. Fabian Bernhardt, Dr. Débora Medeiros, and Dr. Verena Straub, she co-created and co-leads the  "Affect and Colonialism Web Lab," winner of the Ideas Competition for International Research Marketing Prize of the German Research Foundation. It is based at and co-funded by the Collaborative Research Center Affective Societies at Freie Universität Berlin.

Rosa is an inaugural editorial board member of Alon: Journal for Filipinx American and Diasporic Studiesbased at the University of California Davis, and a board member of the Philippine Studies Group of the Association for Asian Studies.

SFB 1171 Affective Societies
Berlin Southern Theory Lecture