Department of English Department at admu.edu.ph
Mon Sep 10 13:19:36 PHT 2007

                              Kritika Kultura Lecture Series


                                  invite 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 (PLDT-CTC)
                                  Ground Floor, 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 
Contracting  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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