Vicente Rafael lecture banners KKIC week on Aug. 6, 2012 at Ateneo de Manila

University of Washington, Seattle professor and translation scholar Vicente Rafael will deliver a kick-off lecture for the Kritika Kultura International Conference (KKIC) week outlining his latest critique of Renato Constantino’s anti-colonial polemics and Nick Joaquin’s idea of “Tagalog slang” as “basis for a national language” on August 6, 2012, 4:30-6:00 pm, at the Natividad Galang Fajardo (NGF) Room, De La Costa Hall, Ateneo de Manila University.

Rafael’s paper for the kick-off lecture, “Mis-education, Translation and the Barkada of Languages: Reading Renato Constantino with Nick Joaquin” “re-visits the classic piece by Renato Constantino, “The Mis-education of the Filipino” (1959/1966), inquiring into the colonial basis of his anti-colonial critique of English.  The abstract continues: “It explores the affinity between his view of language and those of American colonial officials, especially around the relationship between English and the vernacular languages. Both conceived of that relationship in terms of a war of and on translation. It then turns to an important but overlooked essay by Nick Joaquin published around the same time as Constantino’s, “The Language of the Streets” (1963). By closely considering Joaquin’s views on “Tagalog slang” as the basis for a national language, we can see a different politics of language at work, one based not on translation as war but as play. Whereas Constantino was concerned with language as the medium for revealing the historical truth of nationhood that would lead to democratizing society, Joaquin was more interested in the conversion of history into language as a way of expanding literary democracy.”

Rafael will also deliver a keynote lecture, “Targeting Translation: US Counterinsurgency and the Weaponization of Speech” at the KKIC.  The lecture’s abstract reads: “Empires have historically relied on the use of translation as weapons of conquest and occupation. This paper situates US counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan as part of its “global war on terror” from this perspective. It inquires into the logic and logistics of recruiting translation as part of a “complex weapons system” with which to target the language of occupied populations. Such tactics include the teaching of foreign languages to US soldiers, the attempts to develop automatic translation systems, and the use of native interpreters as indispensable but unstable media of communication. Finally, the paper will inquire into the limits of weaponizing translation with reference to moments when occupied people speak back in ways that foreground a communicative force whose arrival remains untranslatable.”

Rafael is Professor of History at the University of Washington, Seattle. He was born and raised in Manila and educated at La Salle Green Hills (1973), briefly at De La Salle University, and graduated from Ateneo de Manila University (1977). He received his MA and PhD in History at Cornell University and has taught at the Ateneo,  the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and the University of California at San Diego. He is the author of several works on Philippine history,  including Contracting Colonialism, White Love and Other Events in Filipino History, “The Cell Phone and the Crowd” and The Promise of the Foreign: Nationalism and the Technics of Translation in the Spanish Philippines.

KKIC, slated on August 10-11, 2012, at the Leong Hall Auditorium, Ateneo de Manila University, is the highlight of the year-long celebrations for Kritika Kultura’s 10th anniversary.  As an internationally refereed online journal of literary, language and cultural studies published by the English Department, Ateneo de Manila University, Kritika Kultura  is indexed in SCOPUS, EBSCO, the International Bibliography of the Modern Language Association of America (MLA), and the Directory of Open-Access Journals (DOAJ) in Europe. It is the only journal in the arts and humanities in the Philippines which is indexed in Thomson Reuters (formerly ISI).

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