Language and Literature
This panel focuses on the transpacific and global relations of Philippine literature written in Spanish. It investigates the impact and legacy of over three hundred years of colonial contact between Latin America, Spain, The US and The Philippines as depicted in literature written in Spanish by Filipino authors during the period of Spanish colonization (1521-1898) and also during the American occupation (1902-1946).
The end of Spanish colonialism in 1898 and the beginning of US imperialism shifted the geopolitics of empire with significant consequences to the cultural expressions of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico (whose histories of colonization and independence run parallel) but also Mexico. The US became a new cultural and political actor in the history of these territories that were seeking to define their own national identity. Moreover, the rise of Japan as an Asian modern empire caught the imagination of Filipino writers who saw in Japanese national unity a model to counteract Western domination.
These historical junctures are discussed by the individual presentations of this panel through a series of literary works, conferences, performances and travel accounts. The presentations illustrate literary transculturation with examples from the baroque and modernist periods depicted in Filipino texts demonstrating the isomorphisms of Hispanic literatures and how they came to be. Jody Blanco’s contribution offers an interpretation of re-writings of canonical texts from the Spanish tradition and their entanglement with Asian cosmovisions in the work of missionaries; Paula Park maps out with the intercolonial relationships that lead to similar and sometimes parallel narratives of independence and nationalism in which Filipino texts in Spanish seek to affirm their own “Asianness” or alternatively their “Hispanicness”. Ignacio López-Calvo explores the overlapping narratives of revolution and nationalism in the work of Pedro Paterno, a contemporary of José Rizal and the author of what is considered the first Filipino novel, Ninay (1885). Rocío Ortuño Casanova and Irene Villaescusa-Illán focus on works from the twentieth century with an analysis of Jesús Balmori’s failed attempt to tighten the links between Mexico and Japan in his visit to Mexico in 1931 and a revision of Paz Mendoza’s travel notes on her trip to Cuba in 1927.
As a whole, this panel highlights the persistence of reciprocal global influences between literatures in Spanish challenging existing European and Latin American paradigms from an Asian perspective.