Visiting Researcher to Focus on the Politics of Health and Illness in RP

John FriendJohn Friend, a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, will be a visiting researcher at the Social Development Research Center from May 31 to June 26, 2010. For his dissertation research he will investigate the politics of health and illness in the Philippines. Specifically, his study will look into the influence of colonial medical discursive practices on contemporary Filipino perceptions of disease and how these perceptions shape policy deliberations and popular culture. Mr. Friend will approach the study by reviewing archival material and publications on American public health campaigns in the Philippines during the U.S. occupation, as well as accessing documents and policy papers at the Department of Health and the Department of Science and Technology.

The dissertation research will also focus on how contemporary biotechnological advancements in the human sciences, such as genetic research, are shaping Filipino medical perceptions and identities. In line with this, Mr. Friend intends to look into the formation of "biological citizenships" in the Philippines, or the establishment of social identities (and their narratives) based on hereditary and infectious diseases that result in collective action and self-governance. To do this, he intends to review legislation and policies regarding biotechnology and to interview health officials, and researchers.