Cherubim Quizon will give a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Tuesday, February 23, at 12:15 pm. Her talk is entitled “Going Bananas: Mixed Methods Research on Musa sp. and Other Unspun Fibers in Mindanao and Okinawan Textiles.”

While studies of Southeast Asian textiles rely on group identity markers as analytic and hermeneutic tools, much can be learned from inquiry into practices that transcend group boundaries / traditions / communities. This can be especially enlightening when focusing on cloth made of an unspun fiber that is prevalent in certain parts of the region but not others. Cloth made with thread from the banana plant widely used in Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Southern Japan has a much narrower co-occurrence with ikat patterning techniques. It is an overlap only observed in the Ryukyu Islands and Mindanao, where it is known as abaca ikat. What categories of information and methodologies can we draw on to better understand the significance of such material affinities? Using insights from fieldwork among the Bagobo and other indigenous groups producing abaca ikat alongside collections research, the talk summarizes ethnographic, museological and linguistic information relevant to this confluence of material attributes and relate it to Okinawan kasuri. Implications for future research will be presented, assessing their usefulness in answering questions of anthropological, art historical and ethnohistorical import when theorizing hyperlocal as well as geographically and culturally discontinuous phenomena.


Cherubim Quizon is associate Professor of Anthropology at Seton Hall University. She studies the knowledge systems and social formations embedded in the textiles and dress of the Bagobo in the highlands of Mindanao using ethnography that critically engages with US colonial-era museum collections. She co-edited an influential centenary volume “World’s Fair 1904” (Philippine Studies, Ateneo de Manila Press, 2004) reframing the living display of Filipinos at St. Louis. She recast phenomenological perspectives of indigenous interlocutors in works that include contributions to the Fowler Museum’s Weavers’ Stories project (2010) and more recently in “The Weaver’s House: Ethnography, Translation, and Video in the Highlands of Mindanao” in Visual Anthropology Review (2019). She explored the ironies that arise when indigenous semantic categories of cloth and dress collide with that of the state, non-government organizations, tourists, anthropologists, and other outsiders in “Dressing the Lumad Body” (Humanities Diliman, 2012) and “The Color Purple” (in Cosmopolitanism and Tourism, edited by Robert Shepherd, Lexington Press, 2017), among others. She is collaborating on a praxis-based assessment of a landmark law governing indigenous peoples in the Philippines (https://ipra-ph.org/).
This event will be held via Zoom. A link will be circulated to registrants by 10 am on the day of the event.