Translation and Memory: Hispanofilipino Literature and the Archive in the US Midwest

Event date: March 12, 2021

Seminar coordinator: Marlon James Sales (U-M Postdoctoral Fellow in Critical Translation Studies)

Although Filipino migration has historically converged in other places across the US, it is in the Midwest, particularly at the University of Michigan, where some of the most extensive archival sources on this Southeast Asian nation can be found. These sources are generally used to examine US imperialism in Asia-Pacific, often glossing over the fact that the American period in the Philippines also led to the flourishing of Filipino literature in Spanish as a nationalist response. In this second installment of our Mellon-funded Sawyer Seminars, we shall analyze the archive as a site of translation and historical memory as a multilingual construct, focusing specifically on Hispanofilipino texts in the libraries of the University of Michigan and the broader Midwest. Translation here means two things. Since Spanish has never been spoken widely in the Philippines despite three centuries of colonial rule, translation may refer to the rendering of texts in another language supposedly understood by a majority of local readers. But given the limitations in how archival data is stored in the Philippines, translation may also refer to the movement of the archival sources themselves, whether physically or digitally, thus reclaiming them as objects of cultural memory. How has translation contributed to a monolingualized commemoration of multilingual pasts? What are the stakes of reconstructing a nation’s history through texts written in colonial languages? In which ways can translation help in recuperating a peripheral literary tradition in Spanish?

My seminar has three events open to the public. Links to recordings below:

EVENT 1
Translation and Memory: Hispanofilipino Literature and the Archive in the US Midwest
9:00 AM-12:30 PM EST. RECORDING OF EVENT 1 HERE!

9:00-9:10 AM EST
Marlon James Sales, U-M Comparative Literature
Welcome remarks and introduction to Session 1

9:10-9:30 AM EST
Ricky Punzalan, U-M iSchool
‘There was weakness somewhere in the chain’: US colonial policies and the (re)formulation of Philippine Spanish archives

9:30-9:50 AM EST
Deirdre de la Cruz, U-M Asian Languages and Cultures
Some thoughts on using Hispanofilipino sources for teaching about US Empire: lessons from the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library

9:50-10:10 AM EST
Christina Lee, Princeton U
Why miracle investigations help us understand the Philippine experience of early Spanish rule

10:10-10:35 AM EST
OPEN FORUM 1

10:35-10:40 AM EST
Marlon James Sales, U-M Comparative Literature
Introduction to Session 2

10:40-11:00 AM EST
Ana Rodríguez-Rodríguez, U of Iowa
Researching Islam in the Spanish Philippines from the Iowa Plains: goals and challenges

11:00-11:20 AM EST
Adam Lifshey, Georgetown U
Unsourced translations of the Philippine/Taiwanese transarchipelago

11:20-11:40 AM EST
Miguel Martínez, U of Chicago
Alzina in the Midwest: the failed Chicago translation of Historia de las islas e indios bisayas

11:40 AM-12:00 PM EST
Jody Blanco, UC San Diego
Lost in the original: untranslated texts of translated contexts

12:00-12:30 PM EST
OPEN FORUM 2

 

EVENT 2
Translation/Transnation: Translation as a Critical Practice for Writing a Nation in Transit
3:00-4:00 PM EST. RECORDING OF EVENT 2 AND 3 HERE! 

In the afternoon, the public is invited to a book talk between Harold Augenbraum, editor, translator, and former executive director of the National Book Foundation, and award-winning author Gina Apostol. The conversation will revolve around Augenbraum’s translations of the novels Noli me tángere and El filibusterismo by Philippine national hero José Rizal, and Apostol’s The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata, which won the 2010 Philippine National Book Award and has recently been republished in the US. Apostol is also the author of Insurrecto, which has been included in the list of the ten best books in 2018 by the magazine Publishers Weekly. Books are available for online purchase at Literati Bookstore!

 

EVENT 3     
Translation, Memory and the Archive: The Literary Worlds of the Spanish Philippines

4:00-4:15 PM EST. RECORDING OF EVENT 2 AND 3 HERE! 

Immediately after the book talk, join us for the launch of the virtual exhibit about the history of translation in Filipino literature in Spanish. This virtual exhibit, curated by Dr Sales with assistance from Barbara Alvarez and Fe Susan Go of the U-M Library, Charlotte Fater (U-M Library Scholar), Júlia Irion Martins (U-M Comparative Literature), and Colin Garon (U-M Anthropology), coincides with the 500th anniversary of the Magellan-Elcano voyage.