Kritika Kultura Lecture Series presents Vicente L. Rafael, Ramon Guillermo, and Vernon Totanes on Benedict Anderson


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Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary, and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University—in cooperation with the Rizal Library—will be hosting three lectures on the late Benedict Anderson, featuring Vicente L. Rafael, Ramon Guillermo, and Vernon Totanes. The lectures will be held on April 15, 2016, 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at 4/f Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University. The event is open to the public.

Vicente L. Rafael’s lecture is titled “Contingency and Comparison: Recalling Benedict Anderson.” His abstract reads: “Benedict Anderson thrived on contingency as the basis for comparison. In this paper, I inquire as to how fortuitous meetings and unexpected conjunctions came to inform much of Ben’s thinking. I then ask how contingency opened the way to another key feature of Ben’s work: comparison.” Among other questions, Rafael also asks, “In what way did comparison function less as a method as what he called a discursive strategy, stimulated by a keen awareness of ‘strangeness and absence’?”

Guillermo’s lecture is titled “Revolusi! Rebolusyon!: A Filipino Revisiting of Benedict Anderson’s ‘The Languages of Indonesian Politics’ (1966).” His abstract reads: “‘The Languages of Indonesian Politics’ (1966) was one of the first published works of Benedict Anderson’s long and distinguished career. In that work, he introduced the concept of ‘revolutionary Malay’ which he asserted was the basis for the construction of Bahasa Indonesia as a national language. This paper proposes that the concept of ‘revolutionary Malay’ could be employed as a comparative tool in understanding the Philippine experience of language and revolution.”

Totanes’s lecture—“Travel and Traffic: The Publication, Distribution, and Survival of Imagined Communities”—will relate how “in 2006, Verso published a new edition of Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities (IC) almost 25 years after the first edition was published in London and New York in 1983. Aside from its cover, the new edition’s most striking feature was its author’s reflections on his book’s journey around the world. This paper examines, updates, and critiques Anderson’s conclusions in light of the evidence that he offers, along with additional data about IC and other books from various sources, to contextualize, reconstruct, and better appreciate IC’s publication, distribution, and survival using the framework and methods of the discipline known as book history.”

Vicente L. Rafael is Professor of History and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Washington, Seattle. He is the author of several works on the history and cultural politics of the Philippines. His most recent work is Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language Amid Wars of Translation, published by Duke University Press and co-published by the Ateneo de Manila Press (2016).

Ramon Guillermo is Professor of Philippine Studies at the Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature, University of the Philippines Diliman. He is the author of several works on indigenization theory, translation studies and digital philology. He worked with the late Benedict Anderson and Carlos Sardiña Galache on the translation of Isabelo de los Reyes’s Ang Diablo sa Filipinas ayon sa Nasasabi sa  mga Casulatan Luma sa Kastila (The Devil in the Philippines according to Ancient Spanish Documents), published by Anvil Press (2014).

Vernon Totanes is the Director of the Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University. His doctoral dissertation, titled “History of the Filipino History Book,” recently won the Young Historian’s Prize from the National Commission on Culture and the Arts.


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