Organized Panel Session
Nationalist primordialism entails a deep and abiding faith on the ancient pedigree of nations. An implication of this is that any ancient polities were deemed to be a precursor or, more audaciously, as proof of the necessity of the present nation-state. This state-building project has been pervasive among the modern ASEAN nations. In the case of the Philippines, the ancient polity of Butuan, once a vibrant trading entrepôt in northern Mindanao from the 10th-13th centuries, has been increasingly appropriated into the nationalist narrative of national greatness. Yet contrary to the essentialism and exceptionalism of the narrative of national greatness, the reconstruction of Butuan’s history from textual sources, oral accounts, and archaeology tells us of an international history characterized by a broad network of interactions and sources of influence. This paper seeks to show through a Global International Relations approach how historical Butuan does not in fact fit the territorially-bounded mold of Westphalian nation-states. As such, the appropriate framework for interpreting Butuan’s history should involve an unbounded view of international history, rather than an upstreamed nationalist past.