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Orientalists, Propagandists, and Ilustrados

Orientalists, Propagandists, and Ilustrados: Filipino Scholarship and the End of Spanish Colonialism

Megan C. Thomas
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Orientalists, Propagandists, and Ilustrados
    Book Description:

    The writings of a small group of scholars known as the ilustrados are often credited for providing intellectual grounding for the Philippine Revolution of 1896. Megan C. Thomas shows that the ilustrados’ anticolonial project of defining and constructing the “Filipino” involved Orientalist and racialist discourses that are usually ascribed to colonial projects, not anticolonial ones.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8014-6
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION. Worldly Colonials: Ilustrado Thought and Historiography
    (pp. 1-22)

    We will begin at the end of the story. In October of 1896, during the “insurrection” that would become known as the Philippine Revolution, a teacher at one of Manila’s top schools wrote a letter in defense of his school and its faculty. Jesuit Father Miguel Saderra Mata recounted a rumored charge against the Ateneo Municipal: “In Madrid they were saying ‘that the principal cause of the insurrection in the Philippines was the Jesuit fathers, for giving to the youth of the Archipelago . . . an education that was cosmopolitan . . . and not Spanish . . ....

  5. CHAPTER 1 Locating Orientalism and the Anthropological Sciences: The Limits of Postcolonial Critiques
    (pp. 23-46)

    A general enthusiasm for things Oriental swept through German, French, and English intellectual worlds in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries “like a rapid-fire series of explosions,” driven largely by European scholars’ linguistic “discovery” of the relationship between Sanskrit and European languages.¹ Early European studies of non-European languages had been carried out by Catholic missionaries and emerged out of the biblical tradition that sought to identify the language of God, and its descendents, among the languages of man on earth. The advent of modern Orientalist studies, however, marked a decisive shift in which the languages and literatures of Asia were for...

  6. CHAPTER 2 The Uses of Ethnology: Thinking Filipino with “Race” and “Civilization”
    (pp. 47-96)

    In 1887, Evaristo Aguirre wrote from Madrid to José Rizal, who was then traveling elsewhere in Europe, about the embarrassing behavior of one of the other prominent young Filipinos living in the Spanish capital. Pedro Paterno had, Aguirre complained, resurrected the title of “Maguinoo,” an ancient Tagalog title of nobility that the friar chronicles documented but that was neither officially recognized nor commonly used by the late nineteenth-century elite. Adorning himself with this title, Paterno had taken on outward signs of royalty that his chagrined compatriot considered both pretentious and ridiculous:

    The “Maguinoo” [pronounced mah-ghee-no-o] says that this is a...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Practicing Folklore: Universal Science, Local Authenticity, and Political Critique
    (pp. 97-140)

    Writing from his corner of late nineteenth-century Bohemia, Ferdinand Blumentritt lamented that his age was bringing about the homogenization of human life via “progress, which tends to level all the races [razas] with its steamships, trains, commercial activity and the telegraph.”¹ For Blumentritt, the object of “folkloric science” was to preserve cultural artifacts—including superstitions, legends, architecture, painting, clothes, and language—of both “civilized and savage peoples,” from that inevitable “progress” whose relentless uniformity would devour them.² The aim was not necessarily to preserve folklore inlivingform—for that would be to deny progress itself—but instead to preserve...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Is “K” a Foreign Agent? Philology as Anticolonial Politics
    (pp. 141-170)

    In April of 1888, the peninsular journalist Pablo Feced, under the pseudonym Quioquiap, published an article in theDiario de Manila (Manila Daily)claiming that Tagalog, a “Malayan language[lengua malaya],” was “rigid, plain, rudimentary, and inflexible,” incapable of innovation.¹ This attack on the Tagalog language—in part through its association with the family of “Malayan” languages more generally—prompted Ferdinand Blumentritt to respond in the press with a defense of the richness, sophistication, and dignity of the language family to which Tagalog and other languages of the Philippines belonged. Blumentritt compared Malayan languages to the languages of Europe derived...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Lessons in History: The Decline of Spanish Rule, and Revolutionary Strategy
    (pp. 171-200)

    In 1885, the Spanish government commissioned a painting from Juan Luna, a young Ilocano who had won prizes for earlier canvases in major competitions. The result,Pacto de sangre (Blood Compact), depicted what was understood to be the founding moment of Spanish sovereignty in the Philippines, in which the indigenous ruler Sikatuna and the Spaniard Miguel López de Legazpi sealed their pledge to mutual aid by ceremonially drinking each other’s blood. The painting shows Legazpi in the center (flanked by others of his party), looking at Sikatuna, whose hand holds the raised glass of ceremonial drink, but who faces away...

  10. CONCLUSION: Politics and the Methods of Scholarly Disciplines
    (pp. 201-210)

    In the preceding chapters, we have seen how young intellectuals of the Philippines took up “modern” forms of knowledge. The cosmopolitan scholarly modernity of which the young intellectuals of the Philippines partook rarely belonged to their colonizers in any particular recognizable way, as they were well aware. They put modern knowledges to use to recover the undocumented precolonial past of the Philippines but also to critique the colonial present and provide a foundation for the future. More specifically, this work has attended to how scholarly techniques associated with Orientalism and anthropology had political lives much more varied than their standard...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 211-268)
  12. Index
    (pp. 269-277)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 278-278)