September 14, 2018 at 11:50 am

Bentley Attends Summer Program to Learn Tagalog for Her Research

Caitlin Bentley, portrait

Caitlin Bentley

Contemporary History Institute and history doctoral student Caitlin Bentley attended the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute, an intensive eight-week language program hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, for instruction in Tagalog.

In her second course through the institute, she was supported this year by an SEASSI tuition scholarship.

Bentley, who is also earning a Contemporary History Certificate, undertook the training to help facilitate her original research and writing and eventual dissertation on a military history topic that examines maritime security and intelligence in the Philippines in World War II.

Bentley participated in the program both remotely and on campus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to receiving language instruction via video link for four hours each weekday, she attended SEASSI’s onsite conference that featured graduate student papers as well as a keynote presentation by Southeast Asian history specialist Dr. Alfred W. McCoy, who discussed aspects of his new book, In the Shadow of the American Empire: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power.

Joining her cohort for the last week of the program in SEASSI’s immersive environment, Bentley discussed contemporary topics pertinent to her Philippines research focus, including federalism, the South China Sea, and National ID Law.

At the conclusion of the summer program in week eight, Bentley gave a well-received presentation in the Tagalog language, followed by a group discussion.

Bentley with members of her SEASSI cohort, group photo.

Bentley with members of her SEASSI cohort

Beyond the practical benefits of her language training, Bentley took the opportunity to network with established scholars in the Philippines and across the United States to support upcoming field research. Additionally, this fall she will continue her language studies with Professor Clemen Montero of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Bentley is advised by Dr. Ingo Trauschweizer, Professor of History at Ohio University. She is slated in January 2019 to take her comprehensive exams and defend her prospectus in April for a dissertation that will analyze the successes and failures of the Allied Intelligence Bureau in the Philippines during World War II.


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