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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies

Dr. Rosa Cordillera A. Castillo

Dr. Rosa Cordillera A. Castillo
Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin
rosa.castillo (at) hu-berlin.de

Seminar for Southeast Asian Studies


Office: Invalidenstraße 118, Room 102


Tel.: +49 30 2093-66030

E-Mail: rosa.castillo (at) hu-berlin.de



I. About

II. Research Interests

III. Publications

IV. Selected Invited Lectures

V. Selected Work Experiences


I. About


Rosa Cordillera A. Castillo is an Assistant Professor (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin's Department for Southeast Asian Studies. She is a sociocultural anthropologist working primarily on the Philippines and runs the Philippine studies component of the department.


Rosa obtained her PhD in anthropology, with a summa cum laude distinction, in 2017 at 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, 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.


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 the transnational (dis)engagement of Filipinos with Rodrigo Duterte's "war on drugs." She is also continuing her research in the southern Philippines on the new political entity Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.


She finished her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology (magna cum laude) and Masters in Anthropology (excellent GWA) at the University of the Philippines Diliman. 


Rosa has previously 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 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. At BGSMCS, she conducts workshops and seminars for PhD students about ethnographic fieldwork and qualitative research methods, including topics on research ethics and the politics of knowledge production. At HU-IAAW, Rosa teaches courses on Philippine history, culture, society, and politics. She also taught courses on the politics of memory in Southeast Asia, populism in the Philippines and beyond, as well as critical research methods such as ethnographic fieldwork and decolonizing research and methodology. 


In December 2014, she founded the Philippine Studies Series Berlin, which is increasingly gaining a reputation, locally and internationally, as a leading platform for lectures, discussions, and art and film events regarding the Philippines and its diaspora.


She conceptualised and manages the project Advancing Philippine Studies at HU Berlin, which runs from June 2019 to December 2021. The project aims to advance and promote Philippine and Filipino/a/x studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and in Germany by developing academic programs, projects, and/or activities related to the culture, society, and history of the Philippines and the Filipino people. It is funded by a donation offered to the University through the Office of Senator Loren Legarda and the Philippine Embassy in Berlin. The project is implemented with full academic, strategic, and operational control by the University.

II. Research Interests


  • Violence and peace studies
  • Memory
  • Imagination
  • Anthropology of emotions
  • Anthropology of morality
  • Temporality
  • Anthropology of Islam
  • Decoloniality
  • Human rights
  • Engaged scholarship
  • Critical research ethics
  • Philippines
  • Southeast Asia


III. Publications



Forthcoming 2020. “Being young and Muslim in the Philippines: changing the present, shaping the future.” In Rethinking Filipino Millennials: Alternative Perspectives on a Misunderstood Generation, Jayeel Cornelio, ed. Manila: University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. (book chapter)


Forthcoming 2019. "Becoming a Tidtu a Muslim (a True Muslim): Religious and Moral Subjectivities Caught Between Adat and the MILF Islamic Revivalism." South East Asia Research. (article in journal)


Accepted 2019. "The Decolonial Possibilities and Limitations of Memory-Making: A View from the Philippines." In The Decolonial Enactments of Community Psychology," Shose Kessi, Shahnaaz Suffla, and Mohammed Seedat editors. (book chapter)


Under review (submitted February 2019), with Raffy Lerma, “Regime-made disaster in Metro Manila: Beyond an aesthetics reading of photographs of Duterte’s “drug war.” InThe Ever Loyal City: Manila and Its Global Discontents,Robert G. Diaz, Martin Manalansan IV, and Rolando B. Tolentino, editors. (book chapter)


November 2018. "Unpacking 'Youth' and 'Religiosity' in Being Catholic (2016). Journal of World Christianity, 2018/2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/jworlchri.8.2.0165?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents (article in journal)


July 2018. "Subverting 'Formalised' Ethics through Mainstreaming Critical Research Ethics and a Responsive Review Process." Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, 26:3. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1469-8676.12526 (article in journal)


2017. Being and Becoming: Imagination, Memory, and Violence in the Southern Philippines [dissertation on microfilm]. [Berlin]: Freie Universität Berlin. 377 p.


2015. "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).  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01459740.2014.960564 (article in journal)


2014. "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 (book chapter)


2013. "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. http://academicfoundation.org/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=173 (book chapter)


2009. 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. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=4429852 (article in journal)


2009. "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 Indigenous Peoples, Consent and Benefit Sharing: Lessons from the San-Hoodia Case, Wynberg R, Vermeylen S, Chennels R. eds. South Africa: Springer. Pp. 271-284. http://www.springer.com/de/book/9789048131228?wt_mc=ThirdParty.SpringerLink.3.EPR653.About_eBook (book chapter)


2008. "The Tasaday Twenty Four Years After: Insights on Ethnicity and the Rights Framework." AghamTao - Journal of the Anthropological Association of the Philippines, 17:75-83. (article in journal)


2006. 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 of the Anthropological Association of the Philippines, Vol. 15. (article in journal)



Mediated Politics and the Populist Political Style: Introduction to the Focus Section (guest editor). July 2019. IAAW Newsletter, Issue #5.


14 August 2018. "The Mamasapano Clash, Memories of Violence, and the Politics of Muslim Belonging in the Philippines." New Mandala, hosted by the Australian National University’s (ANU) Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. 

Online: http://www.newmandala.org/mamasapano-memories-muslim-belonging-philippines/


 2011. 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 (working paper)

2011. 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. (research report)


2009Automated 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. (policy report)


2009There 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. (thesis)


2008. 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. (research report)


2006. Ethnography of Indigenous Molbog Communities in Bataraza and Balabac, Palawan, Philippines (with co-author Portia Villarante), Submitted to SAMBILOG and Palawan NGO Network Inc. (research report)


2003. Compressor Fishers: A Glimpse at the Hazardous Occupation of Compressor Diving in Behia (with co-author Andrea Malaya Ragragio), Undergraduate thesis, submitted to the Department of Anthropology, University of the Philippines Diliman (thesis)



January 19, 2019. "Bangsamoro hopes." Rappler. https://www.rappler.com/views/imho/221291-bangsamoro-plebiscite-hopes


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


IV. Selected Invited Lectures/Panel Presentations


November 2019. 'Moral Governance' and the Making of the Bangsamoro Autonmous Region in Muslim Mindanao, panel, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague


March 2019. The Politics and Ethics of Viewing Photographs of the "Drug War," lecture, The College of Liberal Arts, De La Salle University Manila


March 2019. The Bangsamoro as Imagined Future. Department of Anthropology, University of the Philippines Diliman


March 2019. Rumours, Intrigues, and Communal Violence in the late 1960s and 1970s Cotabato Region. Department of Sociology, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, Iligan City


November 2018. “Genres of Resistance: On Ethnography, Creativity, and Public Engagement,” roundtable discussion, American Anthropological Association Conference, San Jose, convened by Erika Robb Larkins and Noah Theriault


November 2018. “What Knowledge? Whose Knowledge? Current Anthropological Knowledge Production in Switzerland,” plenary roundtable discussion, Swiss Anthropological Association Conference, Zurich, Switzerland, convened by Olivia Killias and Zeynep Sariaslan


October 2018. The Politics and Ethics of Viewing Photographs of the Drug War, Philippine Ecumenical Conference, Bonn


March 2018. The Mamasapano Clash, Memories of Violence, and the Politics of Muslim Belonging in the Philippines, panel, Association for Asian Studies Conference, Washington D.C. 


March 2018. Inhabiting the Everyday through the Bangsamoro Imaginary: Insights from an Ethnography of Maguindanaons in the Cotabato Region, College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines-Manila


February 2018. The Will to Remember: Discoursing Massacres and Becoming a Mujahid, Mindanao State University-Marawi


February 2018. Emotions, Memories, and Imaginings of Violence: Insights from an Ethnography of Maguindanaons in the Cotabato Region, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology


November 2017. Othering and Recognition: Muslim-Christian Relations in the Southern Philippines, University of Tromsø, Center for Peace Studies


September 2017. The Tipping Point?: The Political Potential and Limits of Imagined Identification, Small Projects, Tromsø, Norway


June 2017The Co-Implication of the Past, Present, and Future in the Bangsamoro Imaginary, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology – Halle, Emmy Noether Guest Lecture Series


February 2017On Fellow-Feeling, Imagined Identification, and the Bangsamoro Imagined Community, University of the Philippines College of Arts and Letters Bahaginan Research Forum


October 2016Becoming a Tidtu a Muslim (True Muslim): Religious and Moral Subjectivities Caught Between Adat and the MILF Islamic Renewal, University of Heidelberg, Department of Anthropology Winter Colloquium


October 2015. Inhabiting the Everyday through the Bangsamoro Imaginary, University of Luzerne Department of Anthropology, Conference on Philippine Studies


May 2015. Becoming in the Bangsamoro: An Exploration of Imagination and Memory in Violent Contexts, University of Zurich, Department of Anthropology Summer Lecture Series


May 2014. Perspectives on Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Reconciliation in Central Mindanao, Conversation on Perspectives in Reconciliation, ForumZFD, Davao City


November 2013. Discoursing Massacres and Becoming Mujahideen: An Ethnographic Research in Southern Philippines, Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia (DORISEA) Winter Lecture Series, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin Institute of Asian and African Studies


October 2013Discoursing Massacres and Becoming Mujahideen: An Ethnographic Research in Southern Philippines, Columbia University Weatherhead East Asia Institute

V. Selected Work Experiences

Guest lecturer, winter semester 2014-2015 and summer semester 2017, Introduction to Philippine Studies, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin Institute of Asian and African Studies

Researcher, 2010-2011, Gender agenda of the Innova-P2 Project, an international team headed by the University of Central Lancashire; funded by the European Commission

Assistant Professor (rank I) of Anthropology, June 2009-October 2011, Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of the Philippines Manila

Research coordinator, May 2009-September 2009, Automated Election System 2010 Policy Study, University of the Philippines Diliman College of Law and the Center for People’s Empowerment and Governance

Co-investigator, 2007-2008, Protecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Research, funded by the Commission on Higher Education of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines

Lecturer (rank II) of Anthropology, November 2006-October 2007, Department of Anthropology, University of the Philippines Diliman

Instructor (rank IV) of Anthropology, November 2005-October 2006, Department of Anthropology, University of the Philippines Diliman

Technical and research staff, November 2004-November 2005, Anthropology Watch, Inc. (NGO)