Jana Frey | 16.07.2020 | 324 Aufrufe | Interviews

Andrea Natasha Kintanar | "Natural and cultural heritage consciousness through public archaeology and sustainable practices"

Lisa Maskell Fellowships in Southeast Asia

In 2014, the Gerda Henkel Foundation initiated a scholarship programme supporting young humanities scholars from Africa and Southeast Asia in honour of the foundation's founder, Lisa Maskell. It is the largest international support programme for PhD students in the history of the Foundation. The Lisa Maskell Fellowships aim to strengthen universities in the partner countries, to counter the outflow of qualified young scholars and to ensure the doctoral students enjoy excellent academic training.

In the last couple of months, L.I.S.A. has been publishing interviews with the Lisa Maskell Fellows from Subsaharan Africa and from Southeast Asia, in which they talk about their research projects as well as their experiences during their academic career and the Lisa Maskell fellowship.

This week, we welcome Andrea Natasha Kintanar from the Philippines. After completing a Bachelor's degree in History and a Master's degree in Archaeology at the University of the Philippines, Diliman Indonesia, she started her PhD thesis titled Natural and cultural heritage consciousness through public archaeology and sustainable practices at the University of Tübingen.

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"More students are choosing courses that [...] would benefit their future in a capitalist society

L.I.S.A.: What is the status of the humanities in the Philippines, your home country?

Andrea Natasha Kintanar: The focus of Philippine society is more toward STEMs (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The Philippine educational system has adapted a program that is more geared toward specialization than creating well-rounded individuals. In the tertiary level, more students are choosing courses that are seen as more practical – one that would benefit their future in a capitalist society.

For what use do the humanities have? I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history and I was always asked by people “what will your job be when you graduate? Is there a lot of money in that?” Even as I taught literature and history at both high school and college levels, some students and most parents did not give much importance to the subject, rather they saw it as just another requirement to finish school.

Recently, some universities have been discussing if they will lessen humanities subjects in the school curricula to give way to more technical and specific skills that would help students land surefire jobs. Nowadays, there has been more jobs in the technical or skilled labor industry.

"Archaeology is a young practice in the Philippines"

L.I.S.A.: Have you ever encountered problems in the realization of your academic career?

Andrea Natasha Kintanar: Yes. I finished my MA in six years. Because archaeology is a young practice in the Philippines, it was not easy for me to find jobs that would help me sustain my masters studies. To be financially secured while still pursuing archaeology, there are only two sure paths for you to take, in my country: the National Museum of the Philippines and staying in the academic world. Creativity and resourcefulness were key traits that helped me along the way. At this point, I am more sure of where I stand and what I am doing, thanks to friends and fellow archaeologists.

"I had been wanting my archaeology practice to be more socially relevant"

L.I.S.A.: What is your PhD project about and what got you interested in the chosen topic to begin with?

Andrea Natasha Kintanar: My PhD project is about instilling heritage education and cultural consciousness in the Philippines, specifically in areas outside of Metro Manila (the capital, urban city) that are located near archaeological sites. The goal is to empower local communities to manage and protect their own natural and cultural heritage. I got interested in this topic as I had been wanting my archaeology practice to be more socially relevant. What can I do with the knowledge that I gain from excavating, research, laboratory analysis, and publishing works? I wanted to be of some help to marginalized communities by using what I have learned with my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. By creating programs and facilitating in group discussions in these communities, I can somehow help improve their systems.

L.I.S.A.: What has your experience in Germany and at the Tübingen University been like? Have there been any differences to institutions you have previously attended? Which ones?

Andrea Natasha Kintanar: I appreciate how everyone was accommodating and helpful in my enrollment process. I have been in constant communication with my professor and he has been supportive with my research. The processes in Tubingen are more streamlined than what I have experienced in my past university.

L.I.S.A.: What are the opportunities in the Philippines to pursue different degree options (BA/MA/PhD)?

Andrea Natasha Kintanar: In the bachelor’s level, there is a lot of opportunity. Most jobs in the Philippines require at least a bachelor’s degree. However, for the graduate degrees, it can be quite challenging since there are few scholarship programs that support humanities degrees, for example.

"Improve economic and social situations in these rural communities"

L.I.S.A.: What are your plans concerning your future career once you have obtained your PhD?

Andrea Natasha Kintanar: I want to continue working with communities located near archaeological sites. Currently, I am focused on only three areas, out of the 1,489 municipalities in my country. I would like to continue helping and facilitating to create programs and other systems that could possibly improve economic and social situations in these rural communities.

Andrea Natasha Kintanar has answered the questions in written form.

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