Reciprocal Mobilities

Indigeneity and Imperialism in an Eighteenth-Century Philippine Borderland

By Mark Dizon

274 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 8 halftones, 2 maps

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7644-9
    Published: September 2023
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-7643-2
    Published: September 2023
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-7645-6
    Published: September 2023

David J. Weber Series in the New Borderlands History

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Throughout the eighteenth century, independent Indigenous people from the borderlands of the Philippines visited the centers of Spanish colonial rule in the archipelago. Their travels are the counternarratives to one-dimensional stories of Spanish conquest of, and Indigenous resistance in, interior frontiers. Indigenous inhabitants on the island of Luzon constantly moved about—visiting allies and launching raids—and thus shaped history in the process. Their mobility allows us to glimpse their agency in colonial interactions in the early modern period. The landscape contains the traces of how they moved as well as how they channeled and impeded mobility in the borderlands.

Mark Dizon views the colonial interactions in Philippine borderlands through the lens of reciprocal mobilities. Spanish mobilities of conquests and conversions had their counterpart in Indigenous visits and ambushes. Colonial encounters were not isolated individual events but rather a connected web of approaches, rebuffs, rapprochements, and dispersals. They took place not only in the exploration of remote forests and mountains but also in conjunction with Indigenous travels to colonial cities like Manila. Indigenous people of the borderlands were not immobile, timeless actors; they created history in their wake as they journeyed through the borderlands and beyond.

About the Author

Mark Dizon is assistant professor of history at Ateneo de Manila University.
For more information about Mark Dizon, visit the Author Page.


"Dizon allows us to see a frontier of the Spanish imperium in a place that is not as commonly studied as the contours of Latin America. This allows us to get a different view of what Spanish colonials might have intended, but also of how local peoples responded to pressures on the land through their own active agency."—Eric Tagliacozzo, author of In Asian Waters: Oceanic Worlds from Yemen to Yokohama

"This book will not only stimulate a reconsideration of the ways power was constructed and re-elaborated in the Philippines during the period of Spanish rule, it will also help to situate the Philippines on the map of borderlands studies."—Ryan Crewe, author of The Mexican Mission: Indigenous Reconstruction and Mendicant Enterprise in New Spain, 1581–1600