The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) recently announced the appointment of Dr. Stephen Acabado, Associate Professor of the Department of Anthropology, as the new Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) of UCLA International Institute.
Dr. Acabado is an eminent archaeological anthropologist interested in human environment interaction and Indigenous responses to colonialism. His research has focused on the archaeology of highland agricultural systems in Southeast Asia, specifically on the Ifugao agricultural terraces in Northern Philippines. He currently has active research programs in Indigenous Taiwan, and in Bicol and Ifugao in the Philippines.
In addition to his archaeological research, Dr. Acabado is also actively engaged in the ethnographic study of the Ifugao agricultural system as a living cultural landscape.
Descendant communities have been passionately involved in his research projects, resulting to an increased community interest and the emergence of an indigenous archaeology in the region.
A Bicolano, he graduated BA Anthropology from UP Diliman and subsequently earned his Masters and Doctorate degrees at the University of Hawaiʻi in Honolulu and has been a Professor and Lecturer at prestigious institutions in the Philippines (UP Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University) and in the US (University of Hawaiʻi, University of Guam, UCLA).
His career is distinguished by numerous academic and advisory board appointments, both local and international, in addition to the grants and awards that have been bestowed on him in recognition of his work and achievements in the field of archeology. His research among the Ifugao and their rice terraces, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site, forced a rethinking of long-held assumptions about Indigenous peoples as passive observers in history.
Dr. Acabado is also a much-published author, having written or co-written articles in leading archaeological and anthropological journals and periodicals, as well as several books, including the most recent, a picture book for children, “Bahay Kubo,” in the Philippines. He continues to contribute articles for Rappler and Inquirer USA on a regular basis, and conducts workshops, seminars and symposia on anthropology and culture here and abroad.