The Partido State University (PSU) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) are initiating a new academic collaboration in the Partido District of Camarines Sur, supported by a grant from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) amounting to PHP 4,679,500.00.


The grant will enable PSU to launch the project, "Research Collaboration & Academic Exchange: a co-creation initiative between Partido State University and US-based institutions," during the Academic Year 2021-2022. The project brings together a multidisciplinary group of scholars interested in the Early Modern Period (EMP) (1400CE-1900CE) in investigating the EMP in the Philippines and Bicol. Through international workshops, multidisciplinary research programming, and museum and curatorial exhibits, the project aims to redirect conversations on ecological and landscape studies in Partido and the wider Kabikolan.

The first year of this project will focus on (1) crafting more nuanced understandings of human/environment social transformations in and around Mt. Isarog; (2) developing baseline environmental histories from different localities in Partido using multidisciplinary approaches; (3) exploring the historical ecology in Partido to develop local histories and broaden our understanding of regional-scale change; and (4) bringing Partido into global discussions of the Early Modern Period.

Collaborators will facilitate capacity-building activities and research programs along with these themes, including an international workshop. The research program will invite interested individuals from academic institutions and the broader community to participate. It aims to articulate environmental change with social contingencies, bringing together insights and approaches from the fields of paleoclimatology, environmental history, social history, archaeology, and anthropology. It will also foreground the often obscured or forgotten histories of Indigenous Philippines, moving away from the common trope of attributing European expansion and East Asian resource extraction as the primary catalysts in Early Modern Period transformations.

A part of the project's expected outcomes is to upscale community interest and awareness in the landscape, history, culture, and heritage through community galleries and a permanent exhibit at the PSU-Museo de Isarog. These will be co-curated with our community partners and other stakeholders. The curatorial component will characterize community engagement and understanding nuances of local ecological and cultural narratives.

The project will be facilitated by a dynamic field of experts and collaborators from local and international institutions, led by Filipino and Bicolano UCLA Associate Professor Dr. Stephen Acabado as the project leader. Collaborators working on community engagement and multidisciplinary components include Dr. Raul Bradecina (PSU), Dr. Kathleen Johnson (University of California, Irvine), Dr. Michael Griffiths (William Paterson University), Dr. Miriam Stark (University of Hawaii-Manoa), Dr. Peter Lape (University of Washington), Dr. Grace Barretto-Tesoro (University of the Philippines-Diliman), Dr. John Peterson (University of San Carlos), Dr. Francisco Datar (University of the Philippines-Diliman), Dr. Danilo Gerona (PSU), Ms. Leih Anne OdoƱo (PSU), and Mr. Earl John C. Hernandez (PSU).

Given this worthwhile opportunity, the Partido State University community is grateful to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) headed by its Chairperson J. Prospero E. De Vera III and the PSU Board of Regents chaired by Commissioner Aldrin A. Darilag for the support and guidance.

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