Events: Kritika Kultura Lecture Series presents Vicente L. Rafael’s Motherless Tongues: book forum and launch

August 24, 2016

NOTICE: In observance of Eid'l Adha, the book forum and launch of Vicente L. Rafael's Motherless Tongues has been rescheduled to Sept. 13, 2016, 5:00-6:30 PM, at 4/F Rizal Library.

Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary, and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University, is organizing a book forum on—and the launch of—Vicente L. Rafael’s Motherless Tongues.

The event—which is co-sponsored by the Rizal Library and the Ateneo de Manila University Press—will be on Sept. 13, 2016, 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at the Rizal Library (4/f).

The forum will feature presentations on Motherless Tongues by Peñafrancia Raniela E. Barbaza (University of the Philippines Diliman), Preciosa de Joya (Ateneo de Manila University), and Jose Mario C. Francisco, SJ (Loyola School of Theology). The presentations will be followed by a response from Vicente L. Rafael and an open forum on the book. The launch of Motherless Tongues will conclude the event.

In her presentation, Peñafrancia Raniela E. Barbaza outlines how “in Motherless Tongues, Vicente L. Rafael continues to examine the ways language ultimately escapes from the intentions of a speaker, however powerful the speaker may be, thereby enabling any hearer to speak as well. While the power of any speaking is such that it produces and maintains (or is intended to maintain) worlds, colonizing and killing bodies, the hearing that language structurally allows, continuously disrupts any worldling by a speaker, producing instead not just another world that resists but multiple and continually resisting worlds.”

Preciosa de Joya’s presentation aims to show how Vicente L. Rafael “offers a critique of nationalist teleology, exposing its instrumentalist view of language and its desire for the sovereignty of the Filipino subject, revealing its affinity with the colonial and imperialist project. However, in reflecting further the practice of translation by Filipino nationalist writers, and their ideas on language, one wonders if a reappraisal of the nationalist discourse is possible—a discourse which engaged itself in the constant play between the vernacular and the foreign.”

Fr. Jose Mario C. Francisco’s presentation will “point to the underlying perspectives on language and translation in Vicente L. Rafael’s book and situate them within related multidisciplinary discourses.”

About the resource persons

Peñafrancia Raniela E. Barbaza teaches Philippine Literature at the University of the Philippines. An early version of her dissertation’s second chapter An Orosipon kan Bikolnon: Interrupting the Phillipine Nation was published by Kritika Kultura in Feb. 2010. The dissertation with the same title has been revised for publication and is forthcoming from the University of the Philippines Press.

Preciosa de Joya is a lecturer at the Philosophy Department, Ateneo de Manila University. She completed her PhD in Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore with a dissertation entitled “In Search of Filipino Philosophy,” and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI), Berlin (2014-2016).  

Jose Mario C. Francisco SJ, professor at Loyola School of Theology and Pontifical Gregorian Umiversity (Rome), has been writing on language, religion, and translation. He was keynote speaker at the conference of the International Association of Translation and Intercultural Studies at Belfast, UK.

About the author

Vicente L. Rafael is Professor of History and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Washington, Seattle. He is the author of several works on the history and cultural politics of the Philippines. His most recent work is Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language Amid Wars of Translation (Duke University Press, co-published by Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2016).

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