DE LA CRUZ 2009
Deirdre de la Cruz
In the August, 2009 issue of Cultural Anthropology, Deirdre de la Cruz examines several events involving Filipinos, organized around the convergence of religious mediation practices and mass media technologies. The essay focuses on an ethnography of a festival celebrating the Virgin Mary's birthday in New York City, as framed by a hostage situation involving a Filipino worker in Iraq. Through what de la Cruz describes as an extraordinary coincidence, which involved a sighting of a bleeding statue of Mary, the two events converged through concurrent media coverage and appeals for divine intervention.
Both events, de la Cruz argues, are drawn together by similar imaginaries of the global Philippines, rooted in a shared history of transnational movement but divergent in their treatment of socioeconomic status and physical vulnerability. Using Filipino Marianism as a lens to understand the ties between religious and technological mediation, de la Cruz examines how intermedial relationships are implicated in the generation of class-inflected interpretations of crisis and danger.
Cultural Anthropology has published other essays on Phillipinos in diaspora. See Lieba Faier's "Runaway Stories: The Underground Micromovements of Filipina Oyomesan in Rural Japan" (2008), Nicole Constable's "At Home but Not at Home: Filipina Narratives of Ambivalent Returns" (1999), and for an extensive list of Cultural Anthropology essays on diaspora, see http://culanth.org/?q=node/155
Cultural Anthropology has also published many essays on religion. See particularly Omri Elisha's "Moral Ambitions of Grace: The Paradox of Compassion and Accountability in Evangelical Faith-Based Activism" (2008), Brian Silverstein's "Disciplines of Presence in Modern Turkey: Discourse, Companionship, and the Mass Mediation of Islamic Practice" (2008) Todd Ochoa's "Versions of the Dead: Kalunga, Cuban-Kongo Materiality, and Ethnography" (2007) and Anne Meneley's "Fashions and Fundamentalisms in Fin-de-Siécle Yemen: Chador Barbie and Islamic Socks" (2007). For a full list of Cultural Anthropology essays on religion, see http://culanth.org/?q=node/131
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Deirdre de la Cruz is an assistant professor in the Asian Languages and Cultures department at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University in 2006. Entitled "All His Instruments: Mary, Miracles, and the Media in the Catholic Philippines," her dissertation examines several apparitions of the Virgin Mary and the devotional communities that attend to them, paying particular attention to their conjunction with the rise of mass mediated practices and cultures in modernity. Other research interests include: history and anthropology, U.S. cultural imperialism, visual culture and the anthropology of the senses, theories of temporality, language and translation, and the "power" of prayer.
LINKS FROM THE ESSAY
Even in the layout of several newspapers’ front pages, the miracle of the bleeding statue appears to intervene in the political drama. Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 14, 2004.
A pageant of Marys. Photograph by Loren Ryter.
World Marian Peace Regatta, September 11. Photograph by Loren Ryter.
OTHER ORGANIZATION LINKS
RELATED SCHOLARLY WORK
QUESTIONS FOR CLASSROOM DISCUSSION
- What does de la Cruz mean by the 'global Philippines'?
- What role does spectacle play in mediation?
- What is the role of media in religious experience?
- What role did the media have in Arroyo's decision to pull out of Iraq?
- How can Marianism mediate between geographically dispersed Filipinos?