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Jana Frey | 21.11.2019 | 210 Aufrufe | Interviews

Kristine Kate Lim | "Exploring Archaeological Seascape Conditions. Anthropogenic Impacts and Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of Maritime and Underwater Archaeological Sites in Western and Eastern Philippines"

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 Kristine Kate Lim from the Philippines. After completing a BA in Political Science at De La Salle University in Manila and an MA in Archaeology at the University of the Philippines - Diliman, she started her PhD in Archaeology with the thesis Exploring Archaeological Seascape Conditions: Anthropogenic Impacts and Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of Maritime and Underwater Archaeological Sites in Western and Eastern Philippines at the Freie Universität in Berlin.

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"Education as a means for employment and globalization rather than for liberating minds"

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

Kristine Kate Lim: While there are different ways in answering this question, I would limit my answer by briefly and generally describing the humanities and their relations to our educational system. Generally, I would define the humanities as a discipline within the study of the people, society, culture and the arts. In my perspective, this dichotomy between the humanities and the sciences creates tension to an educational framework and its relevance. In our country, the move to “revitalize” the general education (GE) program has an effect on the humanities and even critical thinking. The GE curriculum, which was supposedly more holistic and encompassing when learning about social issues and their application to a students’ course, has been reduced to give way to field specialization and perhaps technical subjects. This priority is motivated by the seeming need for students to be ready for the international market and the workforce. If our government and school administrators see education as a means for employment and globalization rather than for liberating minds, then it is no wonder why this “battle” between the sciences and the humanities continues, and why we have fewer opportunities for the humanities. (see the following for an overview: https://www.spot.ph/newsfeatures/the-latest-news-features/69658/up-sagip-ge-a00171-20170322-lfrm, https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in-depth/151174-up-diliman-new-ge-curriculum).

"The 'need' to specialize and be relevant, [...] plus dealing with the realities of life"

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

Kristine Kate Lim: Yes. Nowadays, we are more exposed to numerous possibilities given interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary frameworks. More so, time is of the essence in one’s study such that there are a fast-paced growing body of literature, technology and perspectives that one must be able to keep up with. Somehow, with the “need” to specialize and be relevant, plus dealing with adulting and the realities of life, it makes it more difficult to focus, streamline, and balance perspectives and responses. With the help of senior colleagues and other institutions which support this line of work, I am somehow relieved of these challenges and thus enabled to work and be motivated.  

"To better understand man’s relationship with the ocean and other bodies of water"

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

Kristine Kate Lim: My PhD research is on site conservation and prevailing threats and impacts of climate change and anthropogenic activities to maritime cultural landscapes in the Philippines. Generally, it aims to develop a tool and conduct a vulnerability assessment of archaeological sites, anthropological areas, and built heritage in test areas in the country with long-term evidence of material culture associated with the sea. Ever since I started with my graduate studies, I’ve pursued topics that would enable me to better understand man’s relationship with the ocean and other bodies of water, and with that, apply what I’ve learned to instruction, resource planning and management. As an archipelago included in the top 10 list of countries vulnerable to climate change, and with the crucial and threatened data heritage and other related studies can offer, it is an opportune time to work on this research given this gap.

"More and better exchanges of ideas, sharing of data/practices, and collaborations"

L.I.S.A.: What has your experience in Germany and at the FU Berlin been like? Have there been any differences to the University of the Philippines Diliman and possibly other institutions you have previously attended?

Kristine Kate Lim: It is a very engaging experience studying at the FU Berlin. As a foreign student and while I do not speak the language, my colleagues (both local and international) ensure that I am somehow integrated in the system and updated to the different opportunities our school and Germany has to offer. My scholarship and my PhD program allow me to conduct research in my home country which enables me to associate myself with my previous school (University of the Philippines – Diliman) and another state university (Mindanao State University – Tawi-Tawi) and thus motivates more and better exchanges of ideas, sharing of data/practices, and collaborations.

Archaeology is only offered [...] in the University of the Philippines-Diliman, nowhere else in the country

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

Kristine Kate Lim: One can opt to study in a State (cheaper) university or private schools in the Philippines. They may be equally good but it will also depend on the specific degree which one wants to pursue. One must look after its graduates, faculty line-up, the programs offered and its research, instruction, and extension competencies. Also, in the Philippines, there are specific programs that are only offered in a particular school. For example, Archaeology is only offered as a graduate degree in the University of the Philippines – Diliman and nowhere else in the country. Meanwhile, Geography is also only offered in the same university, but unlike archaeology, it does offer an undergraduate degree.   

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

Kristine Kate Lim: I would like to work in a non-government organization working for ocean conservation and the empowerment of coastal communities and/or be able to teach archaeology/geography and conduct extension activities in an academic setting.

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