RCCAH Director presents paper on historical notes as artifact at EUROSEAS Conference in Berlin

UST Research Center for Culture, Arts and Humanities Director Prof. Joyce L. Arriola, Ph.D., who also teaches at the Faculty of Arts and Letters and the Graduate School, presented her paper titled “The Historical Notes as Literary Artifact: An Appreciation of Julio Nakpil’s Notes on T.M. Kalaw’s The Philippine Revolution” at the 10th EUROSEAS (European Association for Southeast Asian Studies) Conference held from September 10 to 13, 2019 at Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin.

The paper positions the historical annotation as a distinct genre of historical literature that becomes increasingly artefactual as this is utilized to refute previous claims made by a traditional historiographer. This is the case in Julio Nakpil’s annotations to selected entries in T.M. Kalaw’s The Philippine Revolution, particularly the deaths of Andres Bonifacio and Antonio Luna. Nakpil, who is a renowned musician of the revolution against Spain, also occupied key positions in the Katipunan secret society such as leader of its northern sector and custodian of ammunitions. He also wrote some eighth distinguished compositions that depict and celebrate key episodes in the Katipunan uprising. 

In the 1920s, as he was busy raising a family at the height of the U.S. colonial era, Nakpil wrote notes to selected entries in Kalaw’s book in an attempt to clarify certain matters or refute some claims Kalaw made in it. Yet, Nakpil’s confessional mode of writing was carried out with care and with a tacit request to publish the notes only after his death in order not to destabilize the vision of the new republic. The notes then affirm the narrative of the unfinished revolution that haunted the work of nationalists and resistance movement leaders during the war years and during the liberation era as well. The paper was presented in the panel “Material Culture, Heritage and History in Southeast Asia” convened by Elsa Clave of Hamburg University and Mulaika Hijas of University of London SOAS (School of Oriental and Asian Studies).

Arriola’s paper has been produced as part of a CHED-NCCA Salikha grant project titled “Julio Nakpil@150: Rethinking and Reimagining the Musical Works of Julio Nakpil in the Context of Philippine Modernity, Transculturation and Cultural Nationalism.” Arriola’s paper is a product of the Cultural Studies aspect of the project, complementing the work of Dr. Maria Alexandra Chua, Dr. Antonio Africa, and Asst. Prof. Mary Ann Venturina-Bulanadi who furnished the musical and the visual aspects of the project respectively. 

Moreover, Arriola’s participation in the conference was subsidized by the “Advancing Philippine Studies at Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin” program, which was made possible through the office of Senator Loren Legarda. Before the conference, the Philippine Ambassador to Germany, Theresa Dizon-de Vega, sponsored a luncheon for the Philippine contingent to the 10th EUROSEAS Conference. On September 12, 2019, a dinner reception for the Philippine Scholars of EUROSEAS has been sponsored by “Advancing Philippine Studies at HU” and the University of London SOAS.

The EUROSEAS is a European-based organization of academics and scholars who specialize in Southeast Asia as area studies. This is the third time that Arriola has participated in the EUROSEAS having been a paper presenter too, in the Naples, Italy (2007) and Vienna, Austria (2015) conferences. 

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