AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 684

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Session 684: History & Segregation

United States Leper Segregation Policy in the Philippines, 1906-1935
Antonio Galang, Jr., University of the Philippines, Diliman, Philippines

Leprosy was prevalent in the Philippine Islands when the United States colonized the archipelago at the close of nineteenth century. Around 10,000 to 30,000 leper cases were estimated to have existed all over the islands. Most of the lepers were at large, partaking in communal activities. Realizing that the continued status quo endangered the health of the public, the United States imposed leper segregation. Person suspected of leprosy were sent to Culion leper colony for treatment and rehabilitation. From 1906 to 1935 leper segregation had been the program used by the U.S. government to resolve and eradicate leprosy in the Philippine Islands. This paper would like to explore and examine the policy of leper segregation imposed by the United States in the Philippines from 1906 to 1935. First, I will look into the motives and purposes of implementing leper segregation. Second, I will look into the nature and content of the policy. How the policy was carried out? What were the problems met during its imposition? How the U.S. colonial government address and solve the problems? Third, what impacts did the policy created in Philippine society in general? Lastly, did segregation address the problem of leprosy in the Philippines? Many of the studies about leprosy and the policy of leper segregation in the Philippines deal on the medical view of the disease. None so far had written on the process and overall picture of segregation, from the condition before the American occupation, during its implementation in 1906 and up the end of direct control of the United States in the Philippines in 1935. This study is important for it will fill the gaps medical authorities and historians failed to include in the history of leper segregation. Examining how the United States colonial government managed and supervised the overall leprosy control program in the Philippine Islands. The dynamics of how the Americans convinced and persuaded the Filipinos of the need for leper segregation and how the Filipinos received and accommodated the policy.

The Challenged of the First Sarawak Government after independence
Suffian Mansor, University of Malaya, Malaysia

The first Sarawak State government formed after independence was under four ethnic parties which formed Sarawak Alliance Party. These parties were SNAP, SCA, PESAKA and BARJASA. However, the early stage of formation of the first Sarawak government had faced problems especially on the question of whom would be the head of state and the chief executive. However, the major challenge came from the new government's efforts to rule Sarawak independently. The Chief Minister, Stephen Ningkan wanted Sarawak to be rule by only Sarawakians and did not want any foreign intervention, including the federal government to avoid problems. This problem had brought difficulty between the state and the federal government. The real issue here is different interpretation of independence by Ningkan and Malaysian Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman. For Ningkan Sarawak's independence should be geared only by Sarawak with no external intervention. For the leadership of the central government of Sarawak's independence was meaningless if the state government wanted to retain British expatriates. Ningkan wanted the Borneonization to be implemented while retaining the British expatriates. This issue embroiled conflicts between the state and federal government.

'Good Beings' in times of Pacification – a case study from Alor, Indonesia
Emilie Wellfelt, Linnaeus University, Sweden

Abui is a cultural-linguistic group on Alor, an island at the eastern end of the Minor Sundic island chain. Belief in nala kang, or ‘Good Beings’ seems to have been an integrated part of Abui religious concepts before Christianization which took place between ca 1910-1970. Good Beings are described by Du Bois (1944: 25) as being “associated with either the sea or the sky and envisaged in human form.” They were believed to give relief from disease and death, and bring on an age of prosperity. Prophecies about Good Beings would attract much attention and mobilise many believers. In Du Bois’ fieldnotes and Dutch records from the first decades of the 20th century we observe an apparent flurry of good being prophesies and periods of anxious anticipation amongst locals. This paper looks at the concentration of Good Being prophecies as a local response to increased taxation and interference on the part of colonial authorities during the period in question. This is done using archival sources as well as Abui oral traditions describing late colonial times. In particular I discuss the ‘good being’ concept in relation to the historical figure of Malilehi, a female leader in the 1918 uprising against the Dutch.

Can people write in an arid eco-frontier?: The problem of historical sources for ‘medieval’ Gujarat
Aparna Kapadia, Williams College, USA

This paper will address the problems of writing the medieval history of the arid region of Gujarat, western India. With an open north-western frontier, a vast coastline and a proliferation of trade routes, Gujarat witnessed continuous patterns of migration and settlement of pastoralists, itinerant traders and warriors at least from the twelfth century onwards. Transition, flux and conflict thus characterised the polity and society of this region until the early part of the nineteenth century. The production of texts was thus rare in this context and it was often the oral narratives that circulated throughout the lands that remained the dominant form of historical memory. This paper will specifically focus on narratives linked to the Rajput political elite of the region in order to address the complex issue of the nature of the interface between the lost ‘oral’ tales of the bhats and charans and the written sources that are available to a contemporary historian of Gujarat attempting to recover its medieval past today. How should the historian interpret the scanty existence of manuscripts available from the region? Is it possible to ‘listen’ for the oral in these written sources? How do later recordings of medieval narratives by colonial officers and Gujarati scholars facilitate our understanding of the complex relationship between the oral and the written for the medieval period? This paper will raise these methodological questions by presenting an overview of rarely utilised Old Gujarati and Sanskrit narratives associated with the different Rajput lineages of the region as well as the colonial and more contemporary interpretations of these in popular memory.

In the language of trauma: The Partition in the Indian public sphere 1946-47
Shumona Dasgupta, University of Mary Washington, USA

This paper will analyze the ways in which three Indian newspapers represented the Partition of India (1947). I will focus upon: The Hindu Outlook; the weekly organ of the right- wing Hindu Mahasabha, The Hindustan Times; an English language national daily, and Aaj; a regional vernacular daily during the years 1946-47. Analyzed collectively, they provide a snapshot of how the Partition was represented in the Indian national imaginary. The three newspapers often depict the same events in mutually contradictory ways. While focusing on the dialectic between the event and how it is represented and remembered, a contrapuntal reading of such reportage will be used to explore the relationship between representation, historical context and larger frameworks of power. Though ideologically divergent, all three newspapers silence women’s voices and efface the concerns of gendered citizenship, converging in their attitudes about Indian women’s sexuality. A critical reading of published articles, letters, opinion and editorial pieces, and advertisements reveal that all three remain haunted by the specter of enervated Hindu men and malnourished male children unable to fulfill the national mission, underwriting both the Hindu man as the normative citizen subject as well as a crisis of Hindu masculinity. While mapping a traumatized collective psyche, the paper will investigate the discursive intersection of patriarchal prejudice, ethnic hatred and class hostility and the ways in which this impacted the construction, circulation and consumption of narratives about the Partition in the Indian public sphere in the 1940s.

Conflict impact, social capital and resilience in local communities of Nepal’s Mid-western Hills
Marloes S. M. van Houten, International Institute for Asian Studies, Netherlands

The article is about the impact of Nepal’s civil war (1996-2006) on the social structures of villages in the Rukum district of Nepal, also known as the Maoist heartland area. The findings are based on fieldwork conducted in 2007/2008 in the Mid-Western hills of Nepal. Point of departure for researching the effects of the civil war on the Mid-Western hill localities and its citizens is that every household has certain stocks of capital assets, employs certain strategies for survival, and is subject to the vulnerability context. Higher stocks of capital assets (human, social/political, physical, financial and natural capital) are often argued to decrease a household’s vulnerability to short-term shocks and to add to its resilient capacity. Throughout the research, individuals and groups were approached as active agents who are able to use their network contacts and decision-making power to alter structures that regulate the access to the capital assets. In the article it is explained in which cases horizontal and vertical relations, plus affiliation with community groups, 1) helped the households to cope with the negative effects of the war, or 2) led to more vulnerability to become a victim of one of the warring parties. Household’s social support networks, group affiliation, opinion and experience of authority patterns in the village were documented and compared for the pre-war situation, the war situation and the post-accord situation. The article closes with a discussion on how youth groups, women groups, and cultural practices have been driving factors in trust and community rebuilding after the war. Extra note: about my letter of support. I won the Master Thesis Award (a research scholarship) of the IIAS in the Netherlands. For the quality of my Msc. thesis please contact M. Osseweijer of Henk Schulte-Nordholt of the IIAS

From Oman to Batuan: Exploring New Evidence for the History of Inter-Regional Trade in Pre-Modern Asia.
Bryan D. Averbuch, City University of New York, College of Staten Island, USA

In the decades since O.W. Wolters published his landmark work, Early Indonesian Commerce, A Study of the Origins of Srivijaya, maritime archaeologists have been steadily expanding our ability to explore the early history of inter-regional commerce and cultural exchange in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Rim. Alongside the excavation of ports and coastal settlements, the recent discovery of a number of pre-thirteenth century shipwrecks in Southeast Asia has substantially augmented the body of evidence that was available to pioneers such as Wolters. My proposed paper will consist of three sections. In the first section, I will briefly survey the recent discovery and excavation of two shipwrecks in the Java Sea, dated to the 9th and 10th centuries. In the second section, I hope to demonstrate that a comparison of these finds with our textual sources can enhance our understanding of early Islamic commerce in the Malay Archipelago and South China. In the third section, I will look at efforts, made over in the last decade in Oman, Indonesia, and the Philippines, to reconstruct early inter-regional voyages in Asia, arguing that experimental archaeology of this kind, taken alongside our material and textual sources, has the potential to further enhance our understanding of pre-modern economic and cultural exchanges between eastern, southern, and western Asia.