Lecture (by Zoom) Announcement: "Hierarchies of Misery in Rodrigo Duterte's Philippines" - Nicole Curato, March 23, 9 a.m. (Tokyo time)

David Leheny's picture

Dear H-Asia members,

Greetings from Tokyo.

I’m writing to let you know that Professor Nicole Curato, one of the most productive and engaged scholars working on the intersection of politics and society in Asia, will be speaking (via Zoom) at Waseda’s Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies (GSAPS) on  March 23, 2021 at 9 a.m. Tokyo time (11 a.m. in Sydney time; 8 a.m. in Singapore; March 22: 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight time, 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time).

Hierarchies of Misery in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines
Whose suffering counts in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines? In this presentation, I enquire into the unequal distribution of compassion among ‘communities of misery’ in a nation that has been beset with a series of tragedies. I compare two case studies: disaster survivors from Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 and the families left behind by police and vigilante killings of Duterte’s controversial war on drugs.
While the nation has witnessed overwhelming gestures of solidarity in the aftermath of a mega-disaster, the drug war has not resulted to telethons to support the war’s orphans, Twitter hashtags to mourn the dead or mass graves that give visibility to victimhood. Why is suffering from the drug war treated any differently?

Drawing on four years of ethnographic research in Tacloban and Manila, I offer three logics that underpin this moral judgment: the logic of denialism, complicity, and deservingness. I argue that these judgments are embedded in a moral economy that renders some lives disposable and therefore ‘ungrieveable.’  By pursuing this line of enquiry, this presentation seeks to provide a sociological portrait of the society that emerges in the age of Dutertismo and critically examine its implications for democratic practice.
This presentation is based on the book Democracy in a Time of Misery: From Spectacular Tragedy to Deliberative Action published in 2019 by the Oxford University Press.


The talk is free and open to the public, but requires registration. Please sign in and register via our Google Doc, and the zoom invitation will be sent in the days immediately prior to the talk.




For further information, please contact David Leheny (dleheny@waseda.jp).


Best wishes,

David Leheny


Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies

Waseda University