Department of Literature faculty members and UNITAS editorial staff members Ms. Nicole R. Tablizo and Ms. Vae Ann C. Dadia were invited by the Faculty of Letters of the Universitas Kristen Indonesia (UKI) as resource speakers on literature, and discussants in a roundtable discussion on journal publication. Both activities were held on October 7, 2019 at UKI.
Speaking before a group of UKI English language majors, Tablizo and Dadia delivered lectures that centered on “Emergent Critical Approaches to Philippine Texts.” Their key objective was to introduce Philippine literature to Indonesian students. The lectures were about Philippine literature through the critical lenses of feminism and ecocriticism. Tablizo’s lecture was titled “A Body and Self Not her Own: The Filipino woman in Philippine literature’s canonical fictional works” and Dadia’s lecture was titled “Super Typhoon and the Literary Imagination: Ecopoetics and Ecological Themes in Yolanda Relief Anthology Poems.”
During the Question and Answer (Q&A) session, the students of UKI showed enthusiasm in learning more about Philippine culture, society, and history as represented in Philippine literature. The speakers gave historically grounded answers to student queries in their attempt to explain Filipino culture. The questions posed were comparative in nature as the students were curious to know about their southeast Asian neighbour, the Philippines, which is geographically near yet would seem culturally distant. In her talk on feminism, Tablizo gave five examples of canonical fiction writing in the Philippines read under the theoretical lens of feminism. The students expressed interest with regards to feminism and gender studies in the Philippines.
Literature gleaned through ecocriticism was another relevant topic discussed by Dadia where she mentioned the 2004 earthquake and tsunami that affected the Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Java, and Bali, and Typhoon Haiyan, which had its landfall in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines, as prime examples of how timely discussions are on the global state of the environment.
In their lecture, Dadai and Tablizo urged the students to read Philippine literature in comparison with Indonesian literature. Both the Philippines and Indonesia suffered through centuries of colonialism, a fact the speakers were wont to highlight as it would be a good starting point in bolstering an engaging discussion on the two Southeast Asian neighbors. The exchange proved to be valuable as it gave the audience an insight into both Philippine and Indonesian culture and society.
Tablizo and Dadia met with the editorial staff members of DIALEKTIKA for a roundtable discussion. DIALEKTIKA is a journal in Bahasa Indonesia, published by the Fakultas Sastra. Their counterpart from UKI discussed journal publication concerns and strengthening of research interest and publication of the faculty members of UKI’s Department of English. The discussions centered on how to consistently publish a journal, procure articles for issues, and publicize the journal.
The UNITAS editorial staff members shared their best practices in the research journal, the usual challenges they experience and how the editorial team manages to solve them. UNITAS editorial team members also encouraged their Indonesian counterparts to begin publishing DIALEKTIKA as an open-access journal for the easier tracking and accessibility of scholarship to not only Indonesian students, professors, and scholars, but also to foreigners. Open-access journals help promote the mobility of scholarship. It was also suggested that UKI give research load instead of teaching load to its faculty to encourage their research publication.
As an expected outcome of this activity, the academic exchanges would become a regular occasion in the future and would produce meaningful collaborations between the two universities.