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Spain and the Philippines at Empire's End

Module Code: HP310
Module Name: Spain and the Philippines at Empire's End
Module Coordinator: Dr Kirsty Hooper
Term 1 Fridays 12.00-14.00 in H4.44
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

The Philippines were Spain’s primary Asian foothold for almost four hundred years, from Fernando Magellan’s landing on Cebu in 1521 until the Philippine Revolution and Spanish-American War of 1896-98. During that time, Spanish colonial administrators fought (and mostly failed) to exert control over a distant territory comprised of more than 7000 islands, where almost 200 languages are spoken. Spain eventually sold the islands to the US in 1898, the year that the Spanish empire finally fell apart.

In this module, we will explore how the clashes and conflicts of the last fifty years of Spanish rule in the Philippines played out in the cultural sphere. We will take a comparative approach, reading Spanish and Filipino thinkers in dialogue in order to explore diverse perspectives on the issues at stake in Spanish colonialism in the Philippines and the emergence of Philippine nationalism.
The first half of the course will trace the Philippines’ place in the troubled Spanish colonial imagination at the end of the nineteenth century, through topics such as language and identity in the colonial Philippines, sex, race and the colonial imagination, and Madrid's Philippines Exhibition of 1887. In the second half of the course, we will explore Philippine resistance to colonialism and the emergence of a distinctively Philippine nationalism, through the works of the writer, intellectual and revolutionary, José Rizal (1861-1896). We will end by reflecting on the legacy of Spanish colonialism in the Philippines today.

Primary Reading

You should aim to read both Cuentos Filipinos and Noli me tangere before the beginning of term.
  • José Montero y Vidal. Cuentos Filipinos (1876). Second edition: Madrid: Asilo de Huerfanos, 1883. Access online (Internet Archive).
  • José Rizal. Noli me tangere (1887). Berlin: Berliner Buchdruckerei-Aktiengesellschaft, 1887. Access online (Cervantes Virtual). Current editions (Kindle/paperback) here and here.
English translation (widely available second hand): Noli me tangere (Touch me not) by Harold Augenbraum. Penguin Books, 2006.
  • ‘Un español’. Filipinas: Problema fundamental. Por un español de larga residencia en aquellas islas [response to publication of Noli me tangere]. Madrid: Luis Aguado, 1891. Access online (Internet Archive).
  • Eduardo Martín de la Cámara, ed. Parnaso Filipino. Antología de Poetas del Archipiélago Magallánico. Barcelona: Maucci, 1922. Access online (Project Gutenberg).

Assessment Method:

1000-1500-word commentary (25%)

3000-3500-word essay (75%)

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Reading List