This essay analyzes online activist media addressing the red-tagging and trumped-up criminal charges against members of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance in the wake of the Anti-Terror Law in 2020. Engaging with critical scholarship on the archiving, colonial discourse, and representation of the Igorot body, I argue that these online activist media published on the organization’s official Facebook account deploy strategic essentialism by subverting the colonially othered and criminalized marker of the savage-terrorist. The Igorot body is rendered as a quasi-heroic figure of the Igorot warrior who invokes and appropriates traditional bodily customs on warfare and gender relations to embody a self-styled heritage of resistance and martyrdom that undergirds the performance of their self-acquittal against the charges of terrorism and the authority of the colonial archive. Concurrently, the protested/protesting Igorot body moves against the “sovereign trickster” by staging an online fetad or the traditional mass mobilization of communal support, consolidating power from the “networked publics” against the threat of state terrorism.


fetad, Igorot, Philippine Anti-Terror Law, red-tagging, strategic essentialism, Worcester archive

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

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International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)