UNITAS, the oldest extant academic journal in Asia published by a modern university, the University of Santo Tomas, is set to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2022. In anticipation of the milestone, the monthly international lecture series “UNITAS 100” was launched on May 28, 2021.
The “UNITAS 100” series is co-hosted by the Cultural, Literary, and Art Studies Society, Inc. (CLASS), which is the country’s own version of the Modern Language Association (MLA) as a professional organization, and Kritika Kultura, the widely indexed open access international journal on literary and cultural studies published by the Ateneo de Manila University.
UNITAS was established in 1922 as a multidisciplinary journal originally written in Spanish published by the University of Santo Tomas. It has published articles in English, Filipino, Spanish, and other languages. Today, the journal is billed as a multidisciplinary journal in advanced research on literature, culture and society. It is hosted by the Department of Literature at the Faculty of Arts and Letters and published by UST.
The inaugural lecture was held on May 28, 2021 with Prof. Jeremy de Chavez, Ph.D., from the University of Macau as the speaker and Prof. Carlos Piocos III, Ph.D., from De La Salle University, Manila as the respondent. De Chavez discussed “Postcolonial Paranoia, Reparative Reading, and World(ing) Literature.”
This was followed by a dual lecture program held on July 30, 2021, consisting of “East Asian Films and Taiwanese Filmography” by Prof. Woosung Kang, Ph.D., of Seoul National University, South Korea, and “Carlos Bulosan and His Works” by Prof. Jeffrey Cabusao, Ph.D., of Bryant University, USA. The respondents were Prof. Joel David, Ph.D., of Inha University, South Korea and Mr. Victor Bautista of the University of the Philippines, respectively.
For the session on August 27, 2021, Prof. Alex Taek-Gwang Lee from Kyung Hee University, South Korea discussed “K-Pop and Nationalism (The Case of BTS).” Prof. Jinhyoung Lee from Konkuk University, South Korea served as respondent.
Prof. Victor Merriman from Edge Hill University, United Kingdom, will speak about “Samuel Beckett’s Legacies: Authoritarianism, Artists and Activism in David Lloyd’s The Press (200) and The Pact (2021)” on September 24, 2021. The respondent will be Prof. Ricardo Abad, Ph.D., from Ateneo de Manila University.
Prof. Melani Budianta, Ph.D., from Universitas Indonesia will be the guest on October 29, 2021. She will discuss “Field Research in Literary and Cultural Scholarship” with Prof. Shuri M.G. Tambunan, Ph.D., from Universitas Indonesia as a respondent.
“Approaching Non-human Narratives” will be the focus of Prof. Biwu Shang, Ph.D., from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China. Serving as the respondent would be Prof. Youngmin Kim, Ph.D., from Dongguk University, South Korea.
Atty. Jose Duke Bagulaya from Hong Kong University, the speaker for the session on December 10, 2021, will discuss “International Organization and Community: Interrogating ASEAN’s Fictions of Community.” Center for International Law Executive Director Atty. Romel Regalado Bagares will be the respondent.
Apart from the lecture series, an international conference is also in the pipeline involving a number of journal editors from Asia. UNITAS, under the editorship of Prof. Maria Luisa T. Reyes of the Literature Department, has set up a network of humanities journal editors in the region called Asian Journal Network (AJN). It will be launched during the conference next year.
UNITAS issues published since 1922 that are without keywords and abstracts will be provided these features in the UST library digital files in 2022 by the UST Library and the Department of Literature. This major joint project attempts to make research using UNITAS back issues more manageable and more accessible.
The online version of several issues from the last decade has also been made available to the public. The uploading of the digital issues will be done in time for the journal’s centennial celebration in 2022.
Next year, a special Centennial Issue of UNITAS will be published. It will include scholarly articles written exclusively by the esteemed members of its International Board of Editors, who are among the world’s top and best-known scholars in their fields. With the Centennial Issue, the “UNITAS 100” celebration will be marked by an important reminder of the long-standing contribution of UNITAS to the international scholarly conversation in which, as the centennial’s theme goes, “scholarship stands the test of time.”