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Past Event

Saturday University: Photography in Duterte’s Drug War

Feb 10 2018

Asian Art Museum


10 AM – 11:30 AM

How do boundaries—national, social, and religious—shift over time, and how are they crossed? Join us for talks to explore the dynamics of borders between India and Pakistan, between the two Koreas, and other boundaries in the Philippines, India, Myanmar, Japan, and the US.

February 3: Seattle Art Museum, Plestcheeff Auditorium (SAM).
All other lectures: Seattle University, Pigott Auditorium (PIGT)

Humanizing the Inhuman: Photographing Duterte's Drug War in the Philippines
Vicente Rafael, Giovanni and Ann Costigan Professor of History, University of Washington

A bloody border between the human and the inhuman has opened up through the relentless war on drugs under the regime of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. Seeing meth addicts as essentially inhuman and beyond redemption, Duterte has encouraged the police to kill them. Since his election in May 2016, thousands of corpses have turned up nightly in Manila's dense neighborhoods. They were victims of summary killings either by the police or by vigilante groups, or both. Please note that the presentation will include some disturbing graphic images.

This talk will ask about Duterte's narco- and necro-politics. But it will also ask about the counter-politics of dedicated photojournalists who have been covering this war at great risk. Rafael will inquire into the process by which photojournalists position themselves as moral agents, serving as witnesses to injustice.

About the Presenter

Vicente L. Rafael is the Giovanni and Ann Costigan Professor of History and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is the author of Contracting Colonialism (1992), White Love and Other Events in Filipino History (2000), and Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language Amid Wars of Translation (2016), both published by Duke University Press.

Saturday University is held in partnership with the University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies, Seattle University, and Elliott Bay Book Company.


JAN 27

Partitioning Nature: The Indus Basin and the Creation of Pakistan


DMZ Crossings: Performing Emotional Citizenship along the Korean Border

FEB 10

Humanizing the Inhuman: Photographing Duterte's Drug War in the Philippines

FEB 17

Racism, Vulgar and Polite: The Discriminatory Inclusion of Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americans during WWII

FEB 24

Rohingya: The World's Most Persecuted Minority


“We Were Always Buddhist”: Caste Emancipation and Sexual Politics in South India


206.442.8480 [email protected]

Series tickets available to the public November 30.
Full series ticket: $60
SAM member series: $30
Individual lecture tickets at the door as available: $10, SAM members $5; free at the door for students with ID
Please arrive to your seat 10 minutes before the program starts or your seat may be released.
Photo courtesy of Vicente Rafael