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This seminar examines how gender inequality shapes the forms and effects of violent conflict and internal migration involving Moros in Mindanao, Southern Philippines. Beyond rape and sexual violence in conflict situations, I discuss how a gender order structures the everyday relationships that define the conflict itself. I focus on how the gendered nature of the Mindanao conflict drives landlessness, recruitment into armed groups, and the way conflicts are addressed through peacebuilding. Drawing on six Moro family life stories shared with me during fieldwork in Davao City, I offer a gender analysis of the rural and urban conflicts in Mindanao from Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law in 1972 to Rodrigo Duterte’s Martial Law in 2017.
I identify a Moro gender order by describing Moro gender constructs and Moro masculinities and femininities from the life stories and other sources. I contend that Moro men’s and women’s participation in the insurgent war, ‘war on drugs’, ‘war on terror’, and even domestic conflict, forge an insurgent masculinity and femininity. Then, I demonstrate how gender constructs have a productive – and often destructive – effect on political action by producing dominant themes of ‘disposable’ Moro men and ‘resilient’ Moro women. I thus argue that the gender order is constitutive of violent conflict in Mindanao. Peacebuilding must challenge the gender order. As international and state bodies push for attention to gender in the peacebuilding in Mindanao, this dissertation shows why and how a gender analysis can productively contribute towards peace.
About the speaker
Teresa Jopson is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political and Social Change. She has an MA in Human Rights, Development and Social Justice from the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, and a BA in Anthropology from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. She was as an Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines, Manila and is currently a Board Member of the Urban Poor Resource Center, Philippines.