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The Promise of the Foreign: Nationalism and the Technics of Translation in the Spanish Philippines [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Vicente L. Rafael , Rafael

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Kurzbeschreibung

15. Dezember 2005
In The Promise of the Foreign, Vicente L. Rafael argues that translation was key to the emergence of Filipino nationalism in the nineteenth century. Acts of translation entailed technics from which issued the promise of nationhood. Such a promise consisted of revising the heterogeneous and violent origins of the nation by mediating one's encounter with things foreign while preserving their strangeness. Rafael examines the Filipinos' fascination with Castilian, the language of the Spanish colonizers. In Castilian, Filipino nationalists saw the possibility of arriving at a lingua franca with which to overcome linguistic, regional, and class differences. Yet they were also keenly aware of the social limits and political hazards of this linguistic fantasy. Through close readings of nationalist newspapers and novels, the vernacular theatre, and accounts of the 1896 anti-colonial revolution, Rafael traces the deep ambivalence with which elite nationalists and lower class Filipinos alike regarded Castilian. The widespread belief in the potency of Castilian meant that colonial subjects came in contact with a recurring foreignness within their own language and society. Rafael shows how they sought to tap into this uncanny power, seeing in it both the promise of nationhood and a menace to its realization. Tracing the genesis of this promise and the ramifications of its betrayal, Rafael sheds light on the paradox of nationhood arising from the possibilities and risks of translation. By repeatedly opening its borders to the arrival of something other and new, translation compels the nation to host foreign presences to which it invariably finds itself held hostage. While this condition is perhaps common to other nations, Rafael shows how its unfolding in the Philippine colony would come to be claimed by Filipinos, as would the names of the dead and their ghostly emanations. Vincente L. Rafael is Professor of History at the University of Washington. He is the author of White Love and Other Events in Filipino History and Contracting Colonialism: Translation and Christian Conversion in Tagalog Society under Early Spanish Rule, both also published by Duke University Press.

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Pressestimmen

"Following up on "Contracting Colonialism", Vicente L. Rafael studies the Philippine nationalists' failed attempts to lay claim to Spanish, and the emergence of a hungry Tagalog meaning-machine eager to 'host the foreign in the familiar.' Rafael takes his readers on an astonishing trip through the Philippine cultural archive, from vernacular comedia, epic and novel, to underground newspapers, speeches, and the captured documents of secret societies, examining language as an unstoppable producer of social and political possibilities, including the possibility of the national. No one grasps better than Rafael the ambiguous agency of language in colonialism and decolonization."--Mary Louise Pratt, New York University

Synopsis

In "The Promise of the Foreign", Vicente L. Rafael argues that translation was key to the emergence of Filipino nationalism in the nineteenth century. Acts of translation entailed technics from which issued the promise of nationhood. Such a promise consisted of revising the heterogeneous and violent origins of the nation by mediating one's encounter with things foreign while preserving their strangeness. Rafael examines the Filipinos' fascination with Castilian, the language of the Spanish colonizers. In Castilian, Filipino nationalists saw the possibility of arriving at a lingua franca with which to overcome linguistic, regional, and class differences. Yet they were also keenly aware of the social limits and political hazards of this linguistic fantasy. Through close readings of nationalist newspapers and novels, the vernacular theatre, and accounts of the 1896 anti-colonial revolution, Rafael traces the deep ambivalence with which elite nationalists and lower class Filipinos alike regarded Castilian. The widespread belief in the potency of Castilian meant that colonial subjects came in contact with a recurring foreignness within their own language and society.

Rafael shows how they sought to tap into this uncanny power, seeing in it both the promise of nationhood and a menace to its realization. Tracing the genesis of this promise and the ramifications of its betrayal, Rafael sheds light on the paradox of nationhood arising from the possibilities and risks of translation. By repeatedly opening its borders to the arrival of something other and new, translation compels the nation to host foreign presences to which it invariably finds itself held hostage. While this condition is perhaps common to other nations, Rafael shows how its unfolding in the Philippine colony would come to be claimed by Filipinos, as would the names of the dead and their ghostly emanations. Vincente L. Rafael is Professor of History at the University of Washington. He is the author of "White Love and Other Events in Filipino History" and "Contracting Colonialism: Translation and Christian Conversion in Tagalog Society under Early Spanish Rule", both also published by Duke University Press.


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