This work reconstructs the history of capitalism through the era of European colonialism and the rise of the United States empire in the Pacific. The reconstruction is done by drawing from the works of E. San Juan, Jr., considered arguably one of the great contemporary cultural and literary critics of our time. In this author’s view, San Juan’s lifetime of works offers living documentation of, among others, the history and thought of the modern world highlighted by the rise of capitalism, laying the basis for contemporary neoliberal globalization, and shepherded to its hegemonic status by the preeminent empire, the United States. In underscoring the history of capitalism, the present work also revisits the colonial project that was carried out in its wake, and the violence and subjugation inflicted on its victims. Here, neoliberal globalization, taught in mainstream economics classes as a benign subject, is seen as providing the ideological and legal rationale for the commodification and the ultimate grab of the global commons for private profit. These have been identified as themes which also serve as subtopics. In annotating the narrative, San Juan’s own words are used to interject, clarify, rebut, or otherwise offer critical new insight. This is not to say that San Juan has one giant convenient opus between two covers that treat the history of capitalism; instead, San Juan’s history as the one attempted here is collected or drawn from disparate writings by him, composed over time. It is done so not only to honor someone who has offered so much of an example to others, but also to demonstrate the essential unity between theory and practice as an academic endeavor, and to show the possibilities of rendering into action one’s personal beliefs and principles as a matter of personal conviction.


capitalism, colonialism, commons, cultural studies, enlightenment, imperialism, liberalism, historical materialism, neoliberalism, post-colonialism

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)