Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Rosa Cordillera Castillo (Alumna BGSMCS)

Dissertation: Being and Becoming: Imagination, Memory, and Violence in the Southern Philippines


Rosa Cordillera Castillo is a teaching and research staff at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin's Department for Southeast Asian Studies.

She is a socio-cultural anthropologist working primarily on the Philippines. 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, 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.

Since 1999, she has also conducted research on the life world of compressor fishers, indigenous peoples’ struggle over land, and gender-based barriers to access to healthcare and medicine in India and China, among others.

She completed her PhD (summa cum laude) in 2017 at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology and the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, at Freie Universität Berlin. 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 Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies from 2011 to 2015.

Prior to moving to Berlin for her PhD studies, Rosa taught courses in anthropology at the University of the Philippines Diliman and Manila campuses from 2005 to 2011. In Berlin, she taught workshops and seminars related to ethnographic fieldwork and qualitative research methods, including topics on research ethics and the politics of knowledge production, for doctoral fellows at the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, as well as courses on the Philippines at the HU-IAAW. In December 2014, she founded the Philippine Studies Series Berlin, which regularly holds lectures, discussions, and film events regarding the Philippines and its diaspora. She finished her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology (magna cum laude) and Masters in Anthropology (excellent GWA) at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Reasearch Interests:

  • Violence
  • Subjectivity
  • Memory
  • Imagination
  • Emotions
  • Temporality
  • Displacement
  • Peace process
  • Post-conflict
  • Imagined community
  • Ethnicity
  • Race and racism
  • Ethno-nationalism
  • Psychological anthropology
  • Anthropology of Islam
  • Anthropology of ethics
  • Engaged scholarship
  • Critical epistemologies
  • Research ethics
  • New area studies
  • Philippines
  • Southeast Asia



Dissertation: Being and Becoming: Imagination, Memory, and Violence in the Southern Philippines


First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Dilger

Second Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Vincent Houben

Third Supervisor: Dr. Richard Baxstrom

Peer review Journals

Accepted with minor revisions
Forthcoming 2018

Becoming a tidtu a Muslim (a true Muslim): Religious and Moral Subjectivities Caught Between Adat and the MILF Islamic Resurgence. South East Asia Research, SOAS University of London.

The Emotional, Political, and Analytical Labor of Engaged Anthropology Amidst Violent Political Conflict. Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness, Vol. 34(1).
Online - http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01459740.2014.960564

Alvarez-Castillo, Fatima, Julie Marianne Lucas and Rosa Cordillera Castillo. Gender and Vulnerable Populations in Benefit Sharing: An Exploration of Conceptual and Contextual Points. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 18:130-137.
Online - http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=4429852

The Tasaday Twenty Four Years After: Insights on Ethnicity and the Rights Framework. AghamTao Journal (publication of the Anthropological Association of the Philippines), Vol. 17:75-83.

Castillo, Rosa Cordillera and Erika Rey. Social Capital, Morality and the Politics of Urbanidad: The Case of Sidewalk Clearing Operations in an Urban Space. AghamTao Journal (publication of the Anthropological Association of the Philippines), Vol. 15.

Book chapters

Perspectives on Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation in Central Mindanao. In: Dealing with the Past in Mindanao: Perspectives and Entry Points for Transnational Justice. Domes, M. and Jaeger, D., eds. Davao City: ForumZFD.
Online - http://www.forumzfd.de/sites/default/files/downloads/forumZFD-Moving_Beyond_Towards_Transitional_Justice_Bangsamoro_Peace_Process.pdf

Gender-Based Inequalities in Access to Medicines: The Case of India and China. In: The Living Tree: Traditional Medicine and Public Health in China and India. Chaturvedi, S., Ladikas, M. and Guo, L., eds. New Delhi: The Academic Foundation and Research and Information System for Developing Countries.
Online - http://academicfoundation.org/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=173

The Law is Not Enough: Free and Prior Informed Consent Issues Raised by the Mining of Philippine Indigenous Peoples’ Lands; With Insights from the San-hoodia Case. In: Wynberg R, Vermeylen S, Chennels R. eds. Indigenous Peoples, Consent and Benefit Sharing: Lessons from the San-Hoodia Case. South Africa: Springer. Pp. 271-284. 
Online - http://www.springer.com/de/book/9789048131228?wt_mc=ThirdParty.SpringerLink.3.EPR653.About_eBook

Working paper

When Fishing is No Longer Viable: Environmental Change, Unfair Market Relations and Livelihood in a Small Fishing Community in the Philippines. COMCAD Arbeitspapiere – Working Paper, No. 105, 2011. 
Online - https://www.unibielefeld.de/tdrc/ag_comcad/downloads/workingpaper_105_castillo.pdf

Political Commentary

February 14, 2015 
Who do we condemn? Whose lives matter? Rappler http://www.rappler.com/views/imho/83885-mamasapano-lives-matter

Submitted Reports

Gender-Based Inequities in Access to Medicines: The Case of India and China (with co-author Fatima Alvarez-Castillo), submitted to Innova-P2 Project, University of Central Lancashire

Automated Election System Policy Study, co-written with the Center for People's Empowerment and Governance, submitted to the Dean’s Office, College of Law, University of the Philippines Diliman

There is No Other Livelihood: Negotiating Danger and Survival in the Life World of Compressor Fishers, Masters thesis submitted to the Department of Anthropology, University of the Philippines Diliman

Protecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Research – Ati and Tagbanua Case Studies, submitted to the Commission on Higher Education of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines

Ethnography of Indigenous Molbog Communities in Bataraza and Balabac, Palawan, Philippines (with co-author Portia Villarante), Submitted to SAMBILOG and Palawan NGO Network Inc.

Compressor Fishers: A Glimpse at the Hazardous Occupation of Compressor Diving in Behia, Undergraduate thesis, submitted to the Department of Anthropology, University of the Philippines Diliman