Hadje Cresencio Sadje is pursuing a PhD in Religious Studies at the Universität Hamburg in Germany. Sadje is an associate member in the Center for Palestine Studies – SOAS University of London, UK. He is a visiting fellow at Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre, a visiting Ph.D. research fellow at the University of Vienna in Austria, and a student ambassador at the Paris Institute of Critical Thinking. In the world of practice, his notable works are in association with the Christian Peacemaker Team Greece, Caritas Brussels, World Student Christian Movement-Europe (WSCM-Europe), EAPPI-World Council of Churches (WCC), PeaceBuilders Community Philippines, and Pananaw Pinoy. While in academe, he teaches at the Barcelona Applied Social Sciences Spain, the Foundation Academy in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Silliman Divinity School-Silliman University Philippines. Hadje's research interests include decoloniality, religion and global politics, sociology of religion, philosophical theologies, and Asian theologies.
Hadje will be presenting on "Doing Theology at the Margins: Exploring Decolonial Option with Karl Gaspar"
Southeast Asia is a region of diverse indigenous groups (Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact, 2010). However, the Southeast Asian IP groups, are often left behind, chiefly in their vital role in the national consultation process (Amnesty International, 2020; Minority Rights Group International, 2020). Scholars, researchers, civil society advocates, and policymakers argue that their presence in our society is enriching for all, and that we must learn from and with IP groups in a spirit of mutual encounter and engagement, principally for theory construction. Despite this, IP communities remained marginalized, discriminated, and victimized. (IWGIA, 2020). Moreover, what is the value of (premodern/precolonial) indigenous spirituality and traditional knowledge – now usually referred to as indigenous knowledge, skills, practices and spiritualities (IKSPS) – in formulating Southeast Asian theories, particularly for purposes of critical knowledge production? To address this question, I will explore one of the underrated theologian-anthropologists Carlito “Karl” Gaspar who has lived and worked with indigenous communities or indigenous peoples (IPs) in Southern Mindanao in the last half-century (1972-2020). Gaspar’s works build on his long engagement with indigenous people’s struggles for recognition of their rights in solidarity with their struggle for self-determination (Gaspar, 2008; Gaspar, 2010; Gaspar, 2011). That said, this paper is divided into three parts. The first part will introduce the anthropological and theological works of Gaspar as a latent decolonial approach or a possible epistemic reconstitution of doing theology in Southeast Asia, specifically in the Philippines (Al-Attas, 2006; Smith, 2012; De Sousa Santos, 2014; Ndlovu-Gatsheni, 2018; Mignolo, 2018; Dey, 2019). Recognizing Gaspar’s anthropological and theological works as a decolonial (theological) option, the second part will attempt to address the main question: what is the value of (premodern/precolonial) indigenous spirituality and traditional knowledge in formulating Southeast Asian theologies, particularly for purposes of the theological knowledge production in the Philippines? The third part will provide a short conclusion.
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