Photo for Basketball and the Displaced Lives

Colloquium with Clement C. Camposano (UP Diliman)

Monday, October 21, 2019
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
6275 Bunche Hall
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095
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Transforming the uncertainties of history into readable spaces: Basketball and the displaced lives of Ilonggo migrants in Seoul, South Korea

In a 2010 interview, Pacific Rims author Rafe Bartholomew observed that basketball has become such an integral part of life in the Philippines that one cannot write about it without implicating history, Filipino identity, and politics. This ethnographic study follows through on Bartholomew's exploration of basketball first, by focusing on the sport as it has seeped into the everyday lives of male Ilonggo migrant workers in Seoul, South Korea, and second, by locating analysis within the tradition of theorizing represented by the likes of Arjun Appadurai (1986) and Daniel Miller (2005). This talk argues that basketball allows migrants to carve out niches of autonomy within Korean society, thus expanding opportunities for alternative expressions and experiences. They engage in cultural production that allows them not only to negotiate, manage, and even challenge their exclusion, but also to deal with the challenges of social and aspatial dislocation. By providing opportunities for migrants to generate forms of sociality defined variously by emotional attachment to one’s hometown, the enactment of ethnicity, or by localized power relations, basketball complicates the schema of strategy and tactics (De Certeau 1984) by transforming the uncertainties of history into definable and readable spaces.

Clement Camposano earned his Ph.D. in Philippine Studies (Anthropology) from the Tri-College Program of the University of the Philippines - Diliman in 2009. He holds an M.A. in Political Science from U.P Diliman (1992) and a B.A. in Political Science and History from U.P. Visayas (1986). His current research interest is in the anthropology of contemporary migration, particularly on the transnationalization of the contemporary Filipino household and on the role of social media and basketball in shaping and sustaining narratives of the self among Filipino migrants. Dr. Camposano is also interested in a range of issues in Philippine education and is a member of the faculty at the College of Education, University of the Philippines – Diliman where he teaches courses in the anthropology and sociology of education.

Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Center for Korean Studies