Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary, and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University will host a lecture by Helena Patzer titled ”Long-Distance Care: Finding the True Filipino Self, Paying the Debt of Gratitude, and Maintaining Middle-Class Status.” Enrique Niño P. Leviste will serve as respondent. The lecture is on Feb. 28, 2017, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., at Faura Hall AVR, Ateneo de Manila University. The lecture is open to the public.
Patzer’s abstract reads: “Filipino immigration to the United States has for a long time been a favorite topic of research; however, migrant professionals have been largely left out of the picture. The lecture will present an ethnography of the Filipino community in Boston, Massachusetts, and the ways they engage with the home country. The main focus will be a non-governmental development organization, Gawad Kalinga (GK). The organization attracts many Filipino-Americans; involvement with GK is seen as the epitome of being a good immigrant. Such engagement usually comes after the immigrant’s family needs are already settled. An analysis of the rhetoric and practices of care present in the organization, mirroring the practices described in the context of family long-distance care, will be used, in order to compare these two fields of migrant activity.
“These two streams of transnational care are shaped by the changing position of the migrant in the sending country, and with the process of reaching a higher social position abroad. While family connections are an indispensable part of the experience of migration in the beginning of a migrant’s journey and when working as an overseas Filipino worker (OFW); becoming a long term migrant, a balikbayan, activates the second type of connections on the level of non-governmental organizations and associations helping the home country. Through these engagements, they expand their family care to the context of the community and nation. However, by becoming benefactors the balikbayans may, often unwillingly, create patron-client relations with the beneficiaries of their support.”
About the lecturer
Helena Patzer is a cultural anthropologist, currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Ethnology, Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, and a lecturer at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Warsaw. Her PhD, defended at the University of Warsaw, was a study of Filipino middle-class professionals in the US and their involvement with the home country (“Long-Distance Care: The Practice of Sustaining Transnational Ties by Filipino Immigrants in Boston”). Her main interests are migration, transnationalism, and long-distance intimacy; the critical anthropology of development; urban studies; and research methodology. She is the author of four edited volumes, among them Pretextual Ethnographies: Challenging the Phenomenological Level of Anthropological Knowledge-Making (co-edited with T. Rakowski). She is also the director of an ethnographic film Money Tree, which describes long-distance intimacy in Filipino migrant families (Poland 2013). While an Erasmus-Mundus Post-doctoral Fellow at Development Studies, Ateneo de Manila University (Oct. 2016 to Apr. 2017), she is working on a research project “Conflicting Heritage(s): Gentrification, Modernization, and the Reinvention of the Past in the Heart of Manila.”
About the respondent
Enrique Niño P. Leviste is an Assistant Professor from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Ateneo de Manila University. He is currently the Associate Director for Research at the Institute of Philippine Culture.
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