Using a Marxist framework, this paper looks at Nick Joaquin’s conduct of history writing and uses this analysis to comment on the general practice of writing on history. The paper first assesses the extent by which a strand of dialectical thought operates in Discourses. Second, typical assertions of history as “narrativized” discourse are put into test. The ideas of Linda Hutcheon and Edel Garcellano are utilized to bring in the larger sociality where textual discourses take place, thereby shunning the supposed primacy of texts and positing the dynamic ties between history writing and society. Third, the relationship between oral and written discourses and how these types of sources figured in the book are examined. Following this, the potentials of oral sources for alternative practices of history writing and interpretation—more dispersed, refusing the singularity of the “official”—are hailed. Toward the end, a call for reflexivity is reaffirmed. This is done to counter both the pretentiously grand claims of History and the flirtations with liberal tendencies of history writing that opens itself to multiple sources. What is espoused is history writing that is open precisely because of its awareness of its location in the complexity of the societal whole.


dialectical materialism, history writing, linguistic turn, Marxism, reflexivity

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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)