Artlets present at Yogyakarta Cultural Conference

Academic staff from the Faculty of Arts and Letters, representing the Departments of Communication and Media Studies, Creative Writing, and Literature, delivered presentations at the 11th Literary Studies Conference held from October 3 to 4, 2023. The conference’s theme was “Geopolitics and Literature: Reimagining The Past, Present, and Future.” The conference was held at Universitas Sanata Dharma in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

The presentations—some delivered onsite and others online—covered a diverse range of topics, including colonialism, ecocriticism, film, new media, history, and cultural practices.

In his presentation, “Meme-Worthiness: Rhetorical and Political Analysis of Popular Filipino Memes,” Assoc. Prof. Joselito D. Delos Reyes, PhD, Coordinator of the Creative Writing Program, delved into the world of popular Filipino memes, discussing the rhetorical and political factors behind their virality and how they represented indignation and assault to both local meme personalities and Filipino netizens.

Asst. Prof. Paul A. Castillo, Deputy Director of the UST Publishing House, explored the influence of Russian literature on Filipino cinema by reimagining Fyodor Dostoevsky’s works. He discussed how filmmaker Lav Diaz incorporated Filipino culture and challenged the original narrative through extended takes and slow movements in “Dostoevsky’s Influence on Lav Diaz’s Cinema: Reimagining Crime and Punishment.”

Academic staff and former coordinator of the Creative Writing Program, Assoc. Prof. Chuckberry J. Pascual, PhD, conducted a cultural exploration of cabinets/closets in the Filipino context in his presentation, “Opening the Aparador: Exploring the Cultural History of Cabinets in the Philippines.”

Mr. Jose P. Mojica investigated the impact of mobile photo editing apps on the cultural identity of Filipino youth in his presentation, “Mobile Photo Editing Apps and Cultural Identity: Filipino Youth Perspective.” He analyzed how these apps influenced beauty standards and questioned their effect on Filipino national identity.

Castillo, Delos Reyes, Mojica, and Pascual presented their papers in Indonesia.

In her paper “Communicating Ecology and Advocacy: John Iremil Teodoro’s ‘Sa Yakap ng Gubat at Dagat ng Palawan’ as a Tool for Ecological Literacy,” Asst. Prof. Jenny Ortuoste examines John Iremil Teodoro’s eco-essay collection, focusing on its role in promoting ecological literacy and advocacy while also emphasizing the potential of literature and storytelling to ignite environmental activism and societal change in the archipelagic context of Palawan and the Philippines.

 Ms. Vae Dadia’s “Ecopoetics of the Archipelagic Space and the Islandic Subject” defined “ecopoetry” in the context of the Philippines, exploring its connection to the nation’s maritime environment and island identity, highlighting the tensions, connections, and interactions within the complex ecological and cultural landscape.

Aside from the academic exchange, the conference provided a unique platform for establishing international connections. With 51 participating institutions spanning 10 countries, along with 13 collaborative partners in organizing the event, it brought together 123 presenters and participants, each contributing to a roster of 107 diverse presentation titles.

During breaks, attendees had the opportunity to engage in discussions. Assoc. Prof. Delos Reyes introduced the Creative Writing Program and explored potential collaborations with other universities. Asst. Prof. Castillo highlighted some titles available in the UST Publishing House and Assoc. Prof. Pascual distributed copies of TOMAS Journal, the peer-reviewed journal of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies, to some of the heads of literature departments.

Prof. Luisa Torres-Reyes, the UST Scholar-in-Residence, also participated in the conference, representing Philippine universities within the Critical Island Studies Consortium.

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