Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationJohns Hopkins U.
Grant numberGr. 9738
Approve DateOctober 23, 2018
Project TitleMacLochlainn, Dr. Scott A., Max Planck Inst., Goettingen, Germany - To aid research on 'Rituals of Evidence: Media, Faith, and Death in the Philippines'
Preliminary abstract: This research project will examine how the rituals, logistics, and adjudication of death have increasingly become sites of Christian and Islamic transformation in the Philippines. Since 2016, the Philippines has seen a remarkable surge in state-sanctioned killings and violence, notably the extra-judicial killings (EJKs) of alleged drug dealers and users in Manila as well as military and separatist violence in the Muslim-majority southern province of Mindanao. At the same time, the Philippines is now also at the forefront of contested media spaces popularly summarized as ‘post-truth’ and ‘post-fact,’ with such legitimacy and delegitimacy of knowledge often centering on the issue of death itself. Set against this background, this project will investigate how various religious communities in Manila engage with death as a critical site for adjudicating questions of truth, faith, and belonging. At a moment when trust in the state and media has been significantly undermined in the Philippines and globally, this research looks to sites of religious authority and faith as playing a crucial role alongside civil society efforts and alternative media outlets in the search for evidence. This project is situated within a number of intersecting ethnographic spaces of death, including highly public and protest-driven Christian funerals, legally and financially fraught struggles to acquire Muslim cemetery space in Manila, media production sites such as newsrooms, as well as religious communities’ engagement with legal, medical, and bureaucratic spaces of logistics following death. Together, these spaces will allow an ethnographic examination of how ideologies and politics of evidentiary forms have become prioritized within religious communities, and across media publics in the Philippines.