UP ICW’s Fourth Interdisciplinary Book Forum to Focus on National Cinema at the Turn of the Century

LIKHAAN: The UP Institute of Creative Writing will hold the fourth installment of the Interdisciplinary Book Forum (IBF) this March 15, 2-5pm at the Pavilion 1131, Palma Hall, UP Diliman. The book-in-focus for this iteration is The End of National Cinema: Filipino Film at the Turn of the Century by Prof. Patrick F. Campos.

The panel of discussants for this installment of the IBF will be composed of National Artist Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera of the UP Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas, Prof. Eileen Ramirez of the UP Art Studies Deparment, Dr. Neil Martial Santillan of the UP Department of History, Prof. Nick Deocampo of the UP Film Institute, and Prof. Ryan Oliva of the UP College of Law. ICW Director Dr. Roland Tolentino will serve as moderator. The discussants will share their thoughts about the book, particularly as it relates to the nature and context of their respective disciplines.

According to UP Likhaan fellow and UP Press Director Dr. J Neil Garcia, Patrick Campos’ book  “takes the controversial position that, in contradistinction to the thematic and representational content of many of our acclaimed and “touchstone” films, the technological, logistical, and financial mode of production—the very materiality—of this medium translocalized or cosmopolitanized it right from the get-go, making the recent rejection of the rubric of nationality in making sense of this art form something of a long superseded fait accompli: a kind of super-delayed reaction or tellingly belated recognition of what really has been a long-established fact.

“It’s indeed curious why this oversight was sustained in the scholarship and in the literature for so long (although we can only surmise that the nostalgia of decolonization, to a certain extent, certainly played its protracted and mythmaking part). In any case, this critical insight informs Prof. Campos’s readings of a selection of important Filipino films—arguably proficient in the depth and sweep of their interpretive gestures. Among other possible queries, we can ask just what kind of “usefulness” this book might find not just for film or media studies, but also for postnational, cosmopolitan, cultural, and global (re)theorizings, especially in our part of the restively transitioning and increasingly uneven world.”

The UP ICW’s IBF is held once every semester and constitutes a vital component of the UP Likhaan’s Emerging Interdisciplinary Research Grant. With this Forum, the Likhaan, in cooperation with the UP Press, seeks to provide an academic venue in which to realize the imperative for dialogue and intellectual engagement across the various disciplines, which of course speaks directly to the EIDR’s core agenda. Being the center for the study and development of creative and to a certain extent critical writing in the UP System, the Likhaan is in a unique position to carry out such an important academic mission.

Admission to the IBF is free. For inquiries, contact the UP Likhaan via 981-8500 loc. 2117 or email uplikhaan@gmail.com.

UP Book Forum Revisits the Enduring Legacy of Traditional Filipino Medicine

by Joel Toledo

“No single Filipino has not encountered traditional plants and medicine; they are everywhere, even in the most modern of families,” said Dr. Ma. Mercedes Planta, author of the book Traditional Medicine in the Colonial Philippines, 16th to the 19th Century. The book was the focus of the third and most recent installment of the UP Interdisciplinary Book Forum (IBF), which takes place in UP Diliman twice every school year.

On hand to talk about the recently released book from the UP Press were discussants Dr. Victor Paz of the UP Archeological Studies Program, Dr. Salvador Caoili of the UP Manila College of Medicine, and Dr. Ma. Luisa Camagay of the UP Department of History. UP Vice President for Public Affairs Dr. Jose Y. Dalisay, Jr. was the forum’s moderator. The two-hour event was held last September 27 at Pavilion 1131 at the Palma Hall in UP Diliman.

Dr. Planta went on to say that when she set out to write the book, she had in mind “a history that is practical, a history that is readable. It was very clear (to me) that this (book) will only focus on traditional  medical plants and herbolarios… (I wanted to) be able to talk about the healers in a specific manner.”

Historian and former UP Press Director Dr. Camagay began her own discussion by lauding the book’s comprehensive appendices, saying that the second appendix section in particular is an “important compendium” for both Philippine history and medicine. She added that in the future, “the author may want to focus on other aspects of medicine aside from herbal medicine, and at a particular century.” Dr. Camagay added that this revisiting of pre-American era Filipino medicine is particularly laudable as it harkens back to a time before the Americans demonized traditional medicine when it introduced the concept of public health in the country. “Ang unang nagdumi sa Manila Bay ay mga Amerikano (The first to pollute Manila Bay were the Americans),” she stressed.

Dr. Caoili of the UP College of Medicine in Manila said that the book’s centuries-based analysis offers “a broader stroke of the significance of Philippine Medicine,” adding that “one problem is that we are very discipline-based, which forces us to focus on narrow spaces and time scales. It’s important to see that we are in this bigger share of space.” He offered that the book be treated as a springboard for further interdisciplinary endeavors. “(It’s) a very readable, very accessible source of insight… (Its) fresh historical aspect gives one a sense of timeline.”

For his part, Dr. Paz of the UP Archeological Studies Program said that the reason traditional medicine and healers persisted over the centuries is largely because of “the lack of colonial infrastructure to service indios.” He likewise went on to praise the book, saying that it is a deserving addition to the cultural history of the country. He added that the reason some of the sources, especially those from the 16th century, are not fully documented is because they come from word of mouth, and cannot thus be confirmed. He stressed that a good perspective for approaching and understanding the value of such research is to keep in mind that the “structures are colonial, not just physical.”

The discussions led to an open forum, with questions fielded by many of the guests which included students, faculty, and administrators of the Diliman campus. Moderator Dr. Dalisay asked about the common ailments of our Filipino ancestors, to which Dr. Planta replied by saying that compared to most countries in Southeast Asia who had to deal with famine, epidemics, in-fighting, and head-hunting, tuberculosis was the main source of sickness in the Philippines.

Dr. Caoili joined in and said that we were primarily hunter-gatherers and farmers until technology allowed for a social environment, one that people were not evolutionary optimized for. Such quick transition from agricultural to industrial led to new diseases, from cholera and small pox to HIV and Ebola. “New diseases continue to emerge. It’s a blitz,” he emphasized.

He continued by saying that, nowadays, people “might be overly sanitizing (themselves) and using more antibiotics… Today, non-human cells are more prevalent in the body.” He suggested evaluating plants (like the malunggay) as though they were drugs or food, and posed the question, “Why can’t we make our own vaccines and sera like we did a century ago?”

Dr. Planta pursued Dr. Camagay’s points on the public health issues of the Spanish era, and lamented that many people treat that time as a period of obsolescence because of how American historians have pictured it.  “The Spanish couldn’t give us public health in the 19th century because they didn’t have it,” she said. She then expounded on the Filipino concepts of ginhawa and hiyang, explaining that the former is “well-being, the total thing and not just healing. Well is your kaluluwa (soul), not just in your solar plexus.” She added that in the time of the Babaylan, they served different functions, from the mystical to the physical. “In traditional medicine, walang (there’s no) overdose,” Dr. Planta said. “The concept is called hiyang; dosage didn’t really exist.”

Several notable administrators attended this third installment of the UP Interdisciplinary Book Forum, including CSSP Dean Dr. Grace Aguiling-Dalisay, current UP Press Director Neil Garcia, and Director of the UP Institute of Creative Writing (which co-hosts the IBF alongside UP Press) Dr. Roland Tolentino. Dr. Tolentino gave the closing remarks, explaining the rationale of the IBF in connection to an EIDR Funding from UP Diliman, as well as invited everyone to come to the forum’s next installment in the second semester.

UP Interdisciplinary Book Forum to Focus on New Book on Traditional Filipino Medicine

The UP Press and the UP Institute of Creative Writing will be holding its latest installment of the semestral Interdisciplinary Book Forum or IBF on September 27, 2017 at the Pavilion 1131, Palma Hall, UP Diliman. The forum will be held from 2 to 5 in the afternoon.

This semester’s book-in-focus is Dr. Ma. Mercedes Planta’s Traditional Medicine in the Colonial Philippines: 16th to the 19th Century. The book, which came out just this year, explores the various Philippine medicinal plants and herbs that Filipino traditional medical practitioners or herbolarios had prescribed since the precolonial period. When the Spanish missionaries arrived in the country from the 17th to the 19th century, they collected, studied, and made records of these plants and herbs. Their writings on these, as well as on their medicinal use, serve as primary sources for modern studies, since the herbolarios did not leave any writings themselves.

Dr. Planta’s book is an important chronicling of the missionaries’ records, giving readers an intimate and dense portrait of a defined medical tradition. It documents an important component of ways of life and epistemologies that Filipinos can recuperate and benefit from. The author’s lively and scholarly invitation to reflect on a particular aspect of Philippine culture and harness its potential is a triumph of history as “usable past, ” especially in this day in age when access to health and medical care remains beyond the reach of most Filipinos.

Dr. Planta finished her PhD in History at the National University of Singapore. She is currently an associate professor of the Department of History in UP Diliman, where she finished both her Bachelors and Masters degrees in History. In 2011, she was the recipient of the school’s Centennial Professorial Chair Award.

The IBF series is hosted by the UP Press and the UP ICW to foster readership of new titles from the university’s press in different fields. The forum invites a set of specialists as speakers, with UP Press director J. Neil Garcia serving as moderator. Previous installments have focused on books on science fiction and indigenous art.

UP and Ateneo Professors to Discuss Science Fiction in Second Interdisciplinary Book Forum on April 21

 

The second UP Interdisciplinary Book Forum, dubbed “Ad Astra Per Aspera: Two Science Fiction Anthologies” will be held at Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman on April 21, from 1 to 4 in the afternoon.

The forum is sponsored by the UP Institute of Creative Writing and the UP Press. It will draw on two books: Diaspora Ad Astra: An Anthology of Science Fiction, published in 2013 and edited by Emil M. Flores Joseph Frederic F. Nacino, and Science Fiction: Filipino Fiction for Young Adults edited by Dean Alfar and Kenneth Yu. Diaspora Ad Astra  represents science fiction made by Filipinos for Filipinos. It looks at the future of Filipinos and wonders whether we’ll be exporting human workers to Mars or ruling a new Empire of Humanity. Will Filipinos be running a guerrilla war against mad robots as the rest of homo sapiens flee into space in derelict battleships?

Science Fiction explores explores the concerns and issues of today’s youth through the lens of the science fiction genre.

The discussants for the IDBF’s second event are Dr. Giovanni Tapang of the U.P. National Institute of Physics, Prof. Ronald Allan L. Cruz of Ateneo de Manila’s Department of Biology, Prof. Gabriela Lee of the U.P. English Department, and Mr. John Gabriel Pelias of the U.P.’s Institute of Mathematics The moderator is Dr. J. Neil C. Garcia, U.P. Press Director.

Ronald Cruz is an Assistant Professor and the current Undergraduate Student Coordinator of the Department of Biology, School of Science and Engineering, Ateneo de Manila University. He is also the founder and Moderator of the Ateneo Biological Organization – eXplore. eXperience. eXcel. (BOx). He currently serves as the Loyola Schools Coordinator for Teacher Formation Institute (TFI) and Faculty Spiritual Formation. His book, The Cosmic Wild: Biology of Science Fiction, was published in 2015 and has won the Outstanding Book Award from the National Academy of Science and Technology and the Best Book on Science award from the 35th National Book Awards. He has also written several short stories and scientific journal articles.

Giovanni Tapang is a Professor at the UP’s National Institute of Physics and the Associate Dean for Student and Public Affairs at the UP College of Science. He has received numerous grants for VISSER – Versatile Instrumentation System for Science Education and Research and has published many international scientific papers. He is the National Chairperson of Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (Samahan ng Nagtataguyod ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Sambayanan/AGHAM) and a columnist at the Manila Times

 

Gabriela Lee has been published for her poetry and fiction in the Philippines, Singapore, the United States, and Australia. Her first book of prose is titled Instructions on How to Disappear: Stories (Visprint Inc., 2016). Her previous works include Disturbing the Universe: Poems (NCCA Ubod New Writers Prize, 2006) and La-on and the Seven Headed Dragon (Adarna House, 2002). She has received a Master of Arts in Literary Studies from the National University of Singapore (NUS), and currently teaches literature and creative writing at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. You can find her online at www.sundialgirl.com.

John Pelias is an instructor at the UP Institute of Mathematics who likes to read fiction. He received his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science from UP Diliman. He broke UP’s 63-year postwar record by graduating summa cum laude with a general weighted average of 1.016. He has made oral presentations in numerous conferences and is the author of two calculus textbooks. His research interests are Differential Geometry and Mathematical Physics.

 

 

 

The Interdisciplinary Book Forum is part of U.P.’s Emerging Interdisciplinary Research (EIDR) Cycle, and is set to take place once per semester, from hereon. It will cycle through the different disciplines and main literary genres. From this year’s focus on non-fiction, future iterations of the book forum will concentrate on poetry and fiction.

Both the Institute of Creative Writing and the U.P. Press hope that this initial foray will encourage and enliven dialogues and critical thought on recent books and their impact not just on the academe, but among student readers. Dr. Jose Y. Dalisay, U.P. ICW Director, says that the EIDR is intrinsically interdisciplinary, and “involves initiating and maintaining strong relationships with the language, literature, and humanities departments and divisions of all the U.P System’s constituent universities, as well as with related fields. Its results should have a direct impact on the way the university teaches and promotes Philippine literature and literacy, particularly in terms of bilingualism and cultural diversity and inclusivity.”

Dr. Dalisay adds that the Interdisciplinary Book Forum should, in particular, “help engender greater interdisciplinarity and promote a more positive climate in the University’s intellectual life… The University of the Philippines must champion profound forms of reading and writing.”

Admission for the IBF is free. Those interested in attending are advised to come early.

Science Fiction in Focus in UP Book Forum on April 21

What will the future of the Philippines look like? Will we be exporting human workers to Mars or ruling a new Empire of Humanity? How does science fiction reflect the concerns and issues of today’s youth? These questions, among others, will be the focus of a lively discussion on “Ad Astra Per Aspera: Two Science Fiction Anthologies” at the second University of the Philippines Interdisciplinary Book Forum sponsored by the UP Instutute of Creative Writing and the UP Press, to be held at Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman, on April 21, from 1 to 4 in the afternoon.

 

 

UP Professors to Discuss Tattooing and Identity in First Interdisciplinary Book Forum on September 30

The first UP Interdisciplinary Book Forum, dubbed “Tapping Ink: Tattooing Identities” will be held at Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman on September 30, from 2 to 5 in the afternoon.

The forum is sponsored by the UP Institute of Creative Writing and the UP Press. It will draw on the 2013 book Tapping Ink, Tattooing Identities: Tradition and Modernity in Contemporary Kalinga Society, Northern Luzon, Philippines by Analyn Salvador-Amores. The book explores tattooing practices in Kalinga and the rich history of meaning-making among the tattoo artists in the region. It examines tattooing against the backdrop of tradition and modernity, and how it has been affected by mobility, the diaspora, technology, and globalization.

The discussants for the IDF’s pilot event are Dr. Maria F. Mangahas of the U.P. Department of Anthropology, Dr. Rolando B. Tolentino of the U.P. College of Mass Communication, and Prof. Clod Marlan Krister V. Yambao of the U.P. College of Arts and Letters. The moderator is Dr. J. Neil C. Garcia, U.P. Press Director.

Rolando B. Tolentino is faculty of University of the Philippines Film Institute and former dean of the UP College of Mass Communication. He has taught at the Osaka University, National University of Singapore, and now teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests include Philippine literature, popular culture, cinema and media, interfacing national and transnational issues. He writes fiction and creative non-fiction, and is a fellow of the UP Institute of Creative Writing. He is a member of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (Filipino Film Critics Group), Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND-UP), and Altermidya (People’s Alternative Media Network).

Maria F. Mangahas is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. She teaches courses on Economic Anthropology and Ecological Anthropology. Coastal and small-scale fishing communities has been her area of research since the 1980s, with long-term fieldwork in Batanes and in Samal Island, Davao Gulf. The ethnographic themes explored center on fishing culture and the community economy, on practices of sharing, as well as tradition and identity born out of the interaction and circulation of people (locals and migrants) in coastal places. She has written on ‘indigenous coastal resource management’, ‘gear conflicts’ and changing seascapes, notions of ‘luck’ and leadership. More recently however she looked into the phenomenon of digitized ‘scandals’ and the culture of media piracy in the Philippines. She has a PhD in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University. Presently she is the President of the Ugnayang Pang-AghamTao, Inc. (Anthropological Association of the Philippines), and an editor of its AghamTao journal. She also heads the Technical Committee for Anthropology of the Commission for Higher Education (CHED).

Clod Marlan Krister V. Yambao is an Assistant Professor of Art Studies in the College of Arts and Letters, University of the Philippines, Diliman, where he finished his BA Art Studies and MA in Art Studies. He has taught subjects in Western and non-Western aesthetics and art theory, contemporary cultures and the arts, popular culture, and gender issues in the arts in the undergraduate and graduate level. He was a recipient of the Impakt Asia Exchange scholarship, where he lectured on critical theory and cultural politics under the Department of Conflict and Development Studies, Faculty of Politics and Social Sciences at the University of Ghent, Belgium. He also delivered a public lecture on contemporary art, migration, aesthetic, and Filipino gendered bodies in Berlin, Vienna, and Prague this year. His academic interests include Philippine contemporary art, critical theory and contemporary art theory, Cultural Studies, aesthetics, installation art, and the avant-garde, politics and time regimes.

The Interdisciplinary Book Forum is part of U.P.’s Emerging Interdisciplinary Research (EIDR) Cycle, and is set to take place once per semester, from hereon. It will cycle through the different disciplines and main literary genres. From this year’s focus on non-fiction, future iterations of the book forum will concentrate on poetry and fiction.

Both the Institute of Creative Writing and the U.P. Press hope that this initial foray will encourage and enliven dialogues and critical thought on recent books and their impact not just on the academe, but among student readers. Dr. Jose Y. Dalisay, U.P. ICW Director, says that the EIDR is intrinsically interdisciplinary, and “involves initiating and maintaining strong relationships with the language, literature, and humanities departments and divisions of all the U.P System’s constituent universities, as well as with related fields. Its results should have a direct impact on the way the university teaches and promotes Philippine literature and literacy, particularly in terms of bilingualism and cultural diversity and inclusivity.”

Dr. Dalisay adds that the Interdisciplinary Book Forum should, in particular, “help engender greater interdisciplinarity and promote a more positive climate in the University’s intellectual life… The University of the Philippines must champion profound forms of reading and writing.”

Admission for the IBF is free. Those interested in attending are advised to come early.