Nature, Colonial Science and Nation-building in the Twentieth-Century Philippines
Ruel V. Pagunsan, Ph.D.

Pagunsan, Ruel V. 2020. “Nature, Colonial Science and Nation-building in the Twentieth-Century Philippines” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 51(4): 561-578


This article examines colonial nature-making in twentieth century Philippines. It particularly looks into natural history investigations of the American-instituted Bureau of Science and the ways in which it created a discursive authority for understanding the Philippine natural environment. These biological investigations, the article argues, did not only structure the imperial construction of the colony’s nature, but also provided a blueprint for imagining notions of national integration and identity. The article interrogates the link between colonial scientific projects and nation-building initiatives, emphasising the scripting of the archipelago’s nature and the creation of a national science through biological spaces.