[Blueboard] TODAY: Lecture by TALITHA ESPIRITU, PhD on "Passionate Revolutions: The Media and the Rise and Fall of the Marcos Regime" (Thurs., 24 Aug. 2017, 5-6:30 pm, Faura AVR)

Department of Interdisciplinary Studies [LS] is.soh at ateneo.edu
Thu Aug 24 08:11:27 +08 2017



Lecture Abstract

            Of all the things written about the dictatorship of Ferdinand
E. Marcos, the relationship between the media and the regime’s public
culture remains among the most underexplored.  How the latter used the Marcos
romance—the love plot organizing the icons and rituals of the New
Society—to cement an image of the nation as a “national family” begs closer
analysis. Meanwhile, the vital role of the oppositional media in the
unfolding of “people power,” while widely acknowledged, begs deeper
analysis of the media’s aesthetic drive toward hyper-emotionality and
the sentimental
cultural politics enmeshed in the media activism of the anti-Marcos

            This lecture examines how a melodramatic aesthetic and
sentimental mode of publicity based on true feeling helped secure the
dictator’s so-called “Democratic Revolution” while also galvanizing the
popular struggles that culminated in “people power” in 1986.

            These two “passionate revolutions” pivoted on the activation of
emotion in the political sphere, thereby troubling the normative split
between the private and public spheres and the corollary pitting of feeling
against thought. Emotions, according to this classic paradigm, belong in
the intimate sphere. Their containment therein guarantees that the rule of
reason will remain inviolate in the public sphere, understood as a scene of
abstract debate. That these two “passionate revolutions” trafficked in
ethico-emotional spectacles drawing heavily on melodramatic and the
sentimental codes, points to the ascendance a political culture of true

            Challenging the Enlightenment view of rationality as the
distinguishing trait of the human subject, the culture of true feeling
holds that what makes us human is our ability to empathize with the
suffering of others. Paradoxically, however, this brand of visceral
politics locates political agency in private emotional acts: a form of
spectatorship that sequesters political action within the private realm of
aesthetic activity.

            The concept of “true feeling” is a productive starting point
for thinking about the power—as well as the pitfalls—of political emotions
in the two stories that are traced in the lecture. These stories are due
for a critical reappraisal in light of a renewed interest in affect and
emotion in the study of political cultures.

The Lecturer

            Dr. Talitha Espiritu is Associate Professor of English, Film
and New Media Studies at Wheaton College (Norton, MA) where she is also the
Coordinator of its Film and New Media Studies Program. She obtained her PhD
in Cinema Studies from New York University where she wrote her dissertation
on “Revisiting the Marcos Regime: Dictatorship, the Media and the Cultural
Politics of Development.” She has written extensively on the Marcos Regime,
her latest publication (2017) being Passionate Revolutions: The Media and
the Rise and Fall of the Marcos Regime, published by the Ohio University

*Department of Interdisciplinary Studies • 2/F Horacio de la Costa Hall,
Katipunan Ave, Loyola Heights, 1108 Quezon City • *

*+63 2 426 6001 ext 5340 <+63%202%20426%206001> to 5341 **•* *Fax +63 2 426
6001 ext 5341 <+63%202%20426%206001> • is.soh at ateneo.edu
<is.soh at ateneo.edu>*
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