Dr. S. Lily Mendoza is a native of San Fernando, Pampanga in Central Luzon, Philippines and is a fluent speaker of both Kapampangan and Tagalog. She is Associate Professor of Culture and Communication at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Lily is known in the Philippines and beyond for her pathbreaking work on indigenization and indigenous studies. Her first book publication, Between the Homeland and the Diaspora: Theorizing Filipino and Filipino American Identities (Routledge, 2002; Philippine revised edition by UST Publishing, 2006) is the first comprehensive articulation of the movement for indigenization in the Philippine academy and is referenced widely in the fields of history, Philippine Studies, Asian American Studies, Southeast Asian Studies, and postcolonial and cultural studies. She has also published numerous journal articles and book chapters that focus on questions of identity and belonging, cultural politics in national, post- and trans- national contexts, discourses of indigenization, race, and ethnicity, and, more recently, on the interrelationship between communication, culture, and ecology.
Born and raised in the Philippines, she brings perspectives from the homeland rich in indigenous and historical traditions of struggle maintained in the face of centuries of colonial, neo-colonial, and neo-liberal assault and decimation. More recently, her relocation to the post-industrial city of Detroit, along with her growing awareness of the interlocking global crises facing us today, has infused her scholarship with a renewed sense of urgency.
Lily is a member of the Center for Babaylan Studies (CfBS) Core Group, a movement dedicated to keeping alive the indigenous wisdom and healing traditions of the ancestors. Her (co-edited) book publication, Back from the Crocodile’s Belly: Philippine Babaylan Studies and the Struggle for Indigenous Memory (CfBS, 2013; Philippine edition, 2015) is especially dedicated to this work. She studies with Martin Prechtel at his Bolad’s Kitchen School to learn teachings around “forgotten things, endangered excellent knowledges, [and] above all a grand overview of human history…in the search for a comprehension regarding the survival of unique and unsuspected manifestations of the indigenous soul.”