In 100 words or less….
- Tell us what you are researching and why it matters to you?
My research examines how democratic practice can unfold in the aftermath of tragedies. I work with poor communities recovering from disasters, armed conflict, and drug wars in the Philippines. My research matters to me because it puts things in perspective. It’s easy to lose hope about the state of democracy today but witnessing mothers and widows who lost their loved ones from tsunamis, airstrikes and vigilante killings patiently fight for justice is a reminder that democracy is not a lofty ideal but built on modest, everyday achievements.
- What has been your biggest, most frustrating challenge to date?
My biggest frustration is how everyday forms of resistance are still disparaged as insignificant forms of political action. In my research, I have witnessed how much it takes for women to overcome their victimhood and transform their suffering to political action, whether it is joining a protest against state-sponsored murder or negotiating better conditions in evacuation camps from village leaders. Many still think these are insignificant – that it doesn’t change anything, that people still live under repressive regimes and economic inequality. Such arrogant judgment is still prevalent today and I think it’s demeaning.
- Share the dream! What impact do you hope your research will have down the track (optional: on the lives of women)
I want my research to spark further conversations that can challenge insidious ways power works. I hope that by amplifying stories of women that I met in my fieldwork, I can help build bridges among women who find themselves in similar situations and create inclusive strategies to overcome forms of oppression that we often take for granted.