There Can Only Be One

Without community, a I wouldn’t have lasted through grad school and the years since. 

For me, in grad school, a special community that I was with were the group of critical Filipinx scholars who I’ve since grown with over the years. We called ourselves the “Kritikal Kolektibo,” and we were grad students and junior faculty at the University of Toronto who met regularly, to hang out of course, but also to share our work, and dream about what Filipinx Studies in Canada could look like.

We shared stories of what was going on with our lives. We talked about the gendered and racial microaggressions – and outright aggressions – that we experienced, our strategies for subversion, and our moments of triumph. 

One member of this group, and our guest this week is Dr. John Paul Catungal. 

JP and I started our PhDs at the same time, in different departments with very different research projects. And yet, we were oftentimes pitted against each other. We knew this too: we knew, for example, that if one of us got shortlisted for a position, the other cannot be, because there can be “only one of us,” – there can only be one Filipino, no matter the differences in our research and our approaches. This is how the neoliberal academy operated, and how it still operates. 

On today’s episode, we talk about friendship, our parallel paths through academia and our attempts to do and be otherwise.

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