Multi-awarded faculty member, book author, and researcher Prof. Joyce L. Arriola, Ph.D., of the Faculty of Arts and Letters and the UST Graduate School, was conferred the Teodoro F. Valencia Professorial Chair in Journalism. The solemn investiture was held on November 13, 2021, at the Lobby of the Bl. Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building and livestreamed on the UST Facebook page.
Teodoro F. Valencia, one of the most influential journalists in the Philippines, was a member of the UST Journalism class of 1935. Known as “Ka Doroy” in print and broadcast media, he was a radio news commentator, and a household name for his long-running column “Over a Cup of Coffee,” which was published in two dailies for almost four decades.
A year after Valencia’s passing in 1987, the Teodoro F. Valencia Foundation, Inc., formally partnered with UST on March 8, 1988, to establish the Professorial Chair in Journalism in his honor, according to UST Office for Grants, Endowments, and Partnerships in Higher Education (OGEP) Executive Assistant Mr. Levine Andro Lao.
The Valencia family was represented by Mr. Jose V. Ferro, the grandson of Mr. Teodoro Valencia, who congratulated Arriola through a video message, saying that he is “sure that [his] grandfather would have been very proud of her.”
Arriola was presented by UST Rector Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., Ph.D., with the Certificate assisted by UST Secretary-General Rev. Fr. Louie R. Coronel, O.P., E.H.L. while the Professorial Medal was awarded to Arriola by the Father Rector, assisted by Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, Prof. Cheryl R. Peralta, DrPH.
Professorial Chair Lecture
In her lecture titled “The Prospects of Memory Studies in the Philippines,” Arriola delved into the role of media in collective memory work.
In this context, the term ‘memory studies’ is not solely under psychology, but a multidisciplinary field that combines intellectual strands from sociology, anthropology, political science, history, communication, journalism, literature, and cultural studies, among others. ‘Collective memory’ does not refer to how one person’s mind stores thoughts, but rather it is the shared pool of recollections or knowledge of a social group that they shape, share, and communicate together.
Cultural memory, which is rooted in fateful past events and thrives through memory sites, relics, works of architecture that give physical evidence of what happened, can shape a common identity among a group of people that spans generations. Arriola gave the example of the University’s Sampaloc campus, and primarily the Main Building, being used as an Internment Camp from 1942 to 1945. Even today, the structure is functional and recognized as a National Cultural Treasure.
Arriola illustrated the concept of memory itself by sharing, “In 2021, the pandemic continued to pose challenges in all domains of life. That it will continue to haunt us in the years to come has almost become a certainty. As it unfolds, we are already forming a memory of it. The moment is so perilous that we know it will leave behind a trace. It was, is, and will be a pivotal moment to remember…[an event in the past] becomes a pivotal memory because it assumes contemporary resonance or ‘meaning in the present.’”
Memory is the synthesis of our understanding of the past. For example, the “mother of all commemorations” is the Eucharistic Celebration, a living memory of the Last Supper where the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ and the consequent redemption of mankind from sin unify the faithful.
With its two-fold moral roles, epistemological (inform people of the needed information about the past) and normative (inform people of the obligations acquired in the past that should guide present behavior), memory studies hold an important role in forming societal beliefs that influence the present.
The Holocaust Memorials, memoirs of those who suffered through it like Anne Frank, photographs, footage, films, and other plurimedial materials bear the narrative of the systematic genocide of the Jews. This is epistemological since it informs present and future generations of the atrocities committed under the Third Reich. But for the normative function, these remnants serve as a reminder for the world of a moral responsibility to actively resist such malignity and to value human lives.
“Memory, therefore, has its moral imperative: We are duty-bound to remember the past, because [as Paul Ricoeur said], ‘the moral priority belongs to the victims,’” emphasized Arriola as she connected it to the Martial Law era in the Philippine context.
“This moral priority applies to the Martial Law years because it was the victims’ voices and freedom that were curtailed by repressive erasure, a systematic type of forgetting imposed by the regime. Of late, we have heard ‘forgetting’ in connection with the Martial Law years. There have been efforts made to revise history and to deny that the Martial Law era happened,” Arriola explained.
“This only shows that memory work can be highly political and so is forgetting; These are about contested memories,” said Dr. Arriola, recommending that people must “Continue telling the story. Even those who did not witness the actual event are obligated to uphold truth and demand remembering.”
The ‘forgetting’ in recent years is likely due to a breakdown of communicative memory among the generations, exacerbated by the rapid shift from books and film to the non-linearity of digital media consumption and parents leaving the country and their children to work abroad, among other factors.
As a solution, remediation can be attempted, recommended Dr. Arriola, adding that media can be a potent bearer of cultural memory through life-writings or recollections, or film, which recirculates the memory for another time or context, among other avenues.
“The study of memory is also the study of the folly of forgetting. When we find ourselves pointing at some excesses of power, it becomes an exercise of the ethics of remembering and the value of witnessing to it. The early Christians took to witnessing to remind themselves of Christ’s promise. The same can be said of today. We can be history’s new witnesses… Let us do ourselves a favor; Let us remember,” Arriola concluded.
A well-known researcher and author, Arriola was a recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Book Award from the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) for her book “Pelikulang Komiks: Toward a Theory of Filipino Film Adaptation” and the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) 2019 Achievement Award in the Humanities. Another work, “Postmodern Filming of Literature: Sources, Contexts and Adaptations,” secured the National Book Award in Film/Film Criticism in 2007.
Having served the University in various capacities for almost three decades, Arriola is currently a professor of Literature and Communication at the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters and the UST Graduate School; a research fellow at the UST Center for Theology, Religious Studies and Ethics; a resident fellow of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies; and the associate editor of the UNITAS Journal, the oldest extant academic journal in the Philippines.
Prior to these posts, she was most recently the Founding Director of the Director of the Research Center for Culture, Arts and Humanities. Arriola has also held the positions of Founding Chair of the Department of Literature, Director of the Centre for Intercultural Studies, Chair of the Department of Communication and Media Studies, and Assistant to the Director for Faculty Development of the UST Educational Technology Center.
A graduate of the Faculty of Arts and Letters, where she currently teaches, Dr. Joyce Arriola graduated with a Bachelor of Arts major in Literature degree, cum Laude in 1988. She earned her graduate degrees in Literature: MA in Literature in 1995; Ph.D. in Literature, Summa cum Laude in 2003, from the UST Graduate School. She obtained graduate degrees, MA in Communication, major in Journalism in 1998 and Ph.D. in Communication, Best Dissertation Award in 2013, from the University of the Philippines.
The event was conceptualized as a hybrid in-person program with a few members of the academic community in the venue and students and faculty members from the Faculty of Arts and Letters as part of the online audience. Faculty Secretary Asst. Prof. Ma. Zenia Rodriguez was the remote Master of Ceremonies. Onsite Master of Ceremonies was Asst. Dean Assoc. Prof. Alejandro S. Bernardo, Ph.D. The virtual program remains publicly available for viewing through this link.