Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary, and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University will host a lecture by Dr. Megan Thomas titled “Performing Sovereignty in the Late Eighteenth Century: Simon de Anda, Diego Silang, and the British East India Company.” The lecture will be on July 13, 2016, 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at SEC C 201A, Ateneo de Manila University. The lecture is open to the public.

Thomas’s abstract reads: “In late eighteenth century Luzon, the question of who ruled was a contested one, as the British occupied Manila, Simon de Anda led nearby resistance to the British, and further afield revolts challenged Spanish power. This talk treats how various actors in these contests represented sovereignty through words and actions, and how these representations were also efforts to solidify or even attain sovereign power. 


“The examples treated are claims to sovereignty made by British officials during the occupation of Manila 1762-4, by Simon de Anda who led the Spanish resistance in the countryside, and by Diego Silang who led a revolt in Ilocos. Each of these actors made claims to sovereignty in sometimes surprising ways. Simon de Anda claimed that he was the only true representative of the Spanish king, but the British claimed to be authorized by the Spanish king as well as the British one. Meanwhile Diego Silang likely represented his actions in different ways to different people, but by one account, claimed to be preserving Spanish sovereignty by usurping cowardly and disloyal local Spanish officials.  

“The talk uses these examples to explore the how sovereignty is enacted through performance and representation; how radical change is often authorized by its claims to be not revolution, but instead restoration; and how claims to sovereignty are often ambiguous and multifaceted, making them available to creative reappropriation.” 

Megan Thomas is Associate Professor of Politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is interested in history and political theory.  Her book on ilustrado scholarship is now out with Anvil Publishing (Orientalists, Propagandists, and Ilustrados: Filipino Scholarship and the End of Spanish Colonialism). Her articles have appeared in the journals Philippine Studies, Contemporary Political Theory, Comparative Studies in Society and History, and the Review of Politics, and she is currently working, with others, to edit a volume on comparative political theory. Her ongoing research project is on the British occupation of Manila and related provincial revolts. In 2014 she spoke at Kritika Kultura about one facet of that research, the composition of British troops during the occupation. This talk is also drawn from that larger research project.