[Blueboard] Kritika Kultura Lecture Series, 12 September 2007

Department of English Department at admu.edu.ph
Wed Sep 5 09:30:12 PHT 2007

                          Kritika Kultura Lecture Series

                            invites you to a forum on

                            THE PROMISE OF THE FOREIGN


                               Vicente L. Rafael

                                Commentaries by
               Dr. Remmon Barbaza, Department of Philosophy, ADMU
                 Mr. Gary Devilles, Kagawaran ng Filipino, ADMU
 Dr. Bomen Guillermo, Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas, UP
                    Dr. Rolando Tolentino, UP Film Institute

                                    Response by
                                 Vicente L. Rafael

                                 12 September 2007
                             Wednesday, 4.30-6.00 p.m.
                  PLDT-Convergent Technologies Center Room 105
                           Ateneo de Manila University

In The Promise of the Foreign (Duke University Press, 2005; Anvil Publishing,
Inc., 2006), Vicente L. Rafael argues that translation was key to the emergence
of Filipino Nationalism in the nineteenth century. Acts of translation entailed
techniques from which issued the promise of nationhood. Such a promise
consisted of revising the heterogeneous and violent origins of the nation by
mediating one’s encounter with things foreign while preserving their
strangeness. Rafael examines the workings of the foreign in the Filipinos’
fascination with Castilian, the language of the colonizers. In Castilian,
Filipino nationalists saw the possibility of arriving at a lingua franca with
which to overcome linguistic, regional, and class differences. Yet they were
also keenly aware of the social limits and political hazards of this linguistic

Through close readings of nationalist newspapers and novels, the vernacular
theater, and accounts of the 1986 revolution, Rafael traces the deep
ambivalence with which Filipinos came to regard Castilian. Their belief in the
potency of Castilian meant that colonial subjects came in contact with a
recurring foreignness within their own language and society. Rafael shows how
they sought to tap into this uncanny power, seeing in it both the promise of
nationhood and a menace to its realization. He thus sheds light on the paradox
of nationhood and a menace to its realization. Repeatedly opening borders to
the arrival of something other and new, translation compels the nation to host
foreign presences to which it invariably finds itself held hostage. (Back cover
of The Promise of the Foreign.)

VICENTE L. RAFAEL is Professor of History at the University of Washington. He is
the author of White Love and Other Events in Filipino History and Constructing
Colonialism, both also published by Duke University Press, and editor of
Figures of Criminality in Indonesia, the Philippines and Colonial Vietnam and
Discrepant Histories: Translocal Essays on Filipino Cultures.

Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University
Katipunan Road, Loyola Heights,
Quezon City 1108 Metro Manila
426-6001 local 5310/5311

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