Indiana University Bloomington

Phil Parnell, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, International Studies

Phil Parnell
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Bio: Phil Parnell was the inaugural director of Southeast Asian Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington. Parnell earned his Ph.D. in social and cultural anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley and is a Fellow-by-Election of the American Anthropological Association. He has served as editor-for-reviews of the American Ethnologist, a flagship research journal in social and cultural anthropology, and has been an active member of interdisciplinary programs and departments throughout his academic career, including his home Department of International Studies in the new School of Global and International Studies at IU Bloomington. He recently travelled to the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University to participate in the 3rd Philippine Studies Conference in Japan. Parnell was a high school exchange student to Kita Urawa, a northern suburb of Tokyo. Before attending the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute to begin his study of Tagalog and becoming dedicated to research in the Philippines, Parnell was a member of the Berkeley Comparative Village Law Project and for several years located his ethnographic research in rural villages of the Oaxacan Highlands in Mexico.

Parnell moved to the Philippines in 1987 as a resident of a sprawling informal settlement of the urban poor near the Philippine Congress building in Quezon City, the largest municipality of Metropolitan Manila. With the support of a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar Award, Parnell initiated what has become an ongoing ethnographic study of vast intergroup networks that address poverty and the rights of the poor, constantly reshape the Philippine state, and sustain an ongoing collaboration between the Church and state agencies in processes of governance. Today, the neighborhoods of informal settlers that were Parnell’s first home in the Philippines form the country’s largest socialized housing project for the poor.