How Revolutionary was the Philippine Revolution?
Philippines Lecture Series
Speaker: Vicente L. Rafael, Professor of History and Southeast Asian Studies, the University of Washington in Seattle
Chair: James Robson, James C. Kralik, and Yunli Lou Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations; Harvard College Professor; Victor and William Fung Director, Asia Center, Harvard University
Presented via Zoom webinar. Register here.
Biography: Vicente L. Rafael is Professor of History and Southeast Asian Studies at the Univ. of Washington in Seattle. He is the author of several works on the political and cultural history of the Philippines, including "Contracting Colonialism," "White Love and Other Events in Filipino History," "The Promise of the Foreign," and "Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language amid Wars of Translation." His most recent book is The Sovereign Trickster: Death and Laughter in the Age of Duterte, published by Duke Univ. Press, 2022 and in Manila by Ateneo Univ. Press. For more information see https://history.washington.edu/people/vicente-l-rafael.
Abstract: The Philippine Revolution of 1896-1902 is often seen as the foundational moment in the emergence of the Philippine nation-state. It is also regarded as the first anti-colonial revolution in Asia. But as with all revolutions, it was riven by irresolvable contradictions. In this talk, I inquire into the contradictions of the Revolution, asking whether it was actually a continuation of, rather than an emancipation from, colonialism. Would an alternative understanding of those events allow us a way of approaching the longue durée of oligarchic autocracy that continues to underwrite the authoritarian rule of such figures as Duterte and the Marcoses? Finally, by comparing the Philippines Revolution with those of the Americas in the late 18thc. and early 19thc., can we think of it as part of a global wave of liberal modernity, for better or for worse?