Events: Kritika Kultura Lecture Series presents Arwin Q. Tan

October 04, 2018

Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary, and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University—in cooperation with CHED-Salikha's Ethnographies of Philippine Auditory Popular Cultures (EPAPC)—will host a lecture by Arwin Q. Tan. The lecture—titled “Commodified Filipina Voices of the Empire, 1889-1920” is on Oct. 18, 2018, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., at SOM 111 (Ching Tan Room), Ateneo de Manila University. The event is open to the public.

About the lecture

This lecture interrogates the commodification of female theater vedettes in the Islands’ changing musical mode of production from the autonomous consumption of cultural performances in late nineteenth century theater productions to the introduction of recording technology in the early twentieth century. Situated within the shift in the Filipino’s colonial engagement from Spain to the USA, this study focuses on the political economy of music within the context of imperial capitalism, centering on the musical labor of Filipina vedettes. Imperative to capitalism was the premium given to competition which highlighted the star, the unquestionable representation of success measured by economic profit yielding from the patronage of a paying market. Realizing the lucrativeness of their position as stars, the female vedettes ventured into entrepreneurship that reproduced their cultural capital as they grappled with the idiosyncratic restrictions and prejudices imposed on them for being women. How did they defy the traditional patriarchal expectations of Manila’s colonial society as they exercised power in their participation in the cultural production that was constantly bounded by the limits of the ideologies of domesticity? How did their musical labor in the transforming musical mode of production negotiate for power and resolve the conflicts in the values of modernity, within the generally exploitative forces of capitalism and empire?

About the lecturer

Arwin Q. Tan is Assistant Professor at the Department of Musicology of the University of the Philippines College of Music in Diliman, Quezon City. He edited the book Saysay Himig: A Sourcebook on Philippine Music History, 1880-1941, and its accompanying 3-CD recordings Saysay Himig: An Anthology of Transcultural Filipino Music, 1880-1941. He has written articles and reviews for the Humanities DilimanMusika JornalSaliksik e-Journal, Perspectives in the Arts and Humanities, and Asian Studies. Arwin also performs as conductor of the 4-time “Ani ng Dangal” awardee, Novo Concertante Manila, currently ranked 3rd in the top 1,000 mixed choirs of the world by Interkultur, Germany.

About Kritika Kultura

Kritika Kultura is acknowledged by a host of Asian and Asian American Studies libraries and scholarly networks, and indexed in the MLA International Bibliography, Arts and Humanities Citation Index (Clarivate), Scopus, EBSCO, the Directory of Open Access Journals, and the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP). For inquiries about submission guidelines and future events, visit or email

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