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Ian Morley

Ian Morley | Chinese University of Hong Kong

Ian Morley | Chinese University of Hong Kong

Global Humanities Junior Research and Teaching Stay at Freie Universitaet Berlin

May - August 2015

Colonial Governance and Cultural Assimilation: The US and the ‘Uplifting’ and ‘Civilising’ of The Philippines.

American colonial governance sought to radically transform the cultural state of Filipinos. Seeking to ‘uplift’ and ‘civilise’ the Philippine population American colonial rule thus intended to reshape the character of people. Yet with reference to cultural theory little research has been done to explain this process. Accordingly this project endeavours to explicate the political, cultural, and moral justifications employed by the Americans to shift the Filipinos from one state of being, i.e. the backward, to another, that is to say the advanced. In this milieu matters associated with ‘development’, ‘progress’, ‘the sovereignty of good’, and nationhood are to be explored. Moreover American definitions of the ‘uncivilised’ alongside the ‘civilised’ will be investigated so that validations for the imposition of new customs, traditions, and mores can be expounded as part of the process of making Filipinos ‘our little brown brothers’.
Ian Morley is Assistant Professor at the Department of History and Assistant Professor by Courtesy for Urban Studies, both at Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research centers on late-1800s/early-1900s urban design theory and practice, and the built fabric of urban environments created at that time. His PhD dissertation focused on Examples of Provincial Civic Design in Britain (c. 1880-1914).
In the past few years, his published work has comprised of three elements. The first examines the history of the Philippines. This work in particular has sought to explain city design processes with national identity formation, and the modernisation of the country. The second element of his published work has investigated connections in the Asia-Pacific region between the design and meaning of modern urban plans. Such work has, by way of example, identified links between American urban plans in the Philippines with the 1913 plan of Canberra in Australia. Additionally, Ian Morley is interested in teaching and learning pedagogy, and holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education. Examples of his published work include ‘American Imperialism, Civic Design and the Philippines in the Early-1900s’ (European Journal of American Culture 29.3, 2010), ‘The Creation of the Modern Urban Form in the Philippines’ (Urban Morphology 16.1, 2012), ‘Rangoon’ (Cities 31, 2013), ‘Canberra’s Connections: Canberra’s Plan and Nationhood’ (Fabrications 23.1, 2013), and ‘Owning the City: Civic Art’s Historical, Practical and Contemporary Meaning in Yangon’ (Art and the Public Sphere 2.1, 2014).