Research team

Antwerp Centre for Digital humanities and literary Criticism (ACDC)

Expertise

I work on literary and cultural relations between the Philippines and Spanish speaking countries, especially between 1850 and 1950. In this sense, I have created a database that contains literature and newspapers published in Spanish in the Philippines, and books about the Philippines published in Spanish elsewhere (https://filiteratura.uantwerpen.be/). I am interested in the role of the printing press in Spanish in relation to nation-building in the Philippines. For that reason, I work also on a project on the digitization of Philippine historical newspapers and training on Digital Humanities in the Philippines to research those newspapers with digital tools https://hosting.uantwerpen.be/philperiodicals/. I have two articles accepted on the state of digitization and the opportunities raised in the Philippines, and several other works on Philippine literature in Spanish and contacts between Spain, Latin America and Philippine intellectuals. In this sense, I have organized a symposium on Philippine Literature in Spanish, and Prof. Dr. Axel Gasquet (Université Clermont-Auvergne, France) and I are working on the edition of two monographic books on this topic. At the moment, I am trying to work with digital-related methodologies to describe Philippine Literature in Spanish and trace intertextualities from Latin American writers. I also co-direct with Prof. Dr. Diana Arbaiza a DocPro Project on Spanish Francoist literature on the Philippines and Equatorial Guinea. We have actually given together a MA course on this topic.

Decolonizing media discourses in the Philippines: representations of Chinese and Muslim minorities. 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

The hypothesis from which this project departs is that current representations of Chinese and Muslim minorities in the Philippine media resemble and are to an extent based on discourses forged during the colonial eras. We will examine this through an analysis of newspapers from three timeframes: (1) the end of the 19th century, (2) the period of the Commonwealth in the Philippines (1935-1942) and (3) the decolonization period (1946-1960). It will be later compared to contemporary media as examined by other projects. By exposing this connection we will contribute to studies on the coloniality of power in the contemporary Philippines and to contemporary decolonial movements both in the Philippines and Europe along with existing projects that will serve as platforms for dissemination: PhilPeriodicals and DigiPhiLit.

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Innovations in Methodologies and Syllabus: Digital Humanities and Philippine Literature (DigiPhiLit) 01/09/2020 - 31/08/2023

Abstract

CONTEXT The wider context for this project is determined by: a) The unbalanced application of Digital Humanities to education in comparison to its growth as a research field, which is changing perspectives on the history of literature and has a great potential in contributing to understand discourses in context, cultural connections and the flow of topics across the time. b) The necessity to further develop distance learning didactics due to growing numbers of working students, the unavailability of specialists in certain areas, and possible future lockdown situations. c) The restriction of syllabi in Hispanic Studies around the world to studies on Spain and Latin America, leaving behind other historical Spanish speaking communities around the world and ignoring transnational and transcultural connections beyond national borders. MAIN OBJECTIVES This project focuses on the improvement of methods for teaching literature and covering a gap in syllabi in Hispanic Studies around the world. In this way, we intend to narrow the gap between research trends and educational practices in the Humanities. In particular, its main objectives are (1) facilitating the incorporation of Digital Humanities methods and resources to the teaching of Literature in Higher Education, (2) enabling the study of Philippine Literature in Spanish despite the lack of specialists in most of the universities in Europe and (3) improving the didactics of distance learning to get the students to acquire skills and practice them instead of being recipients of the information. RESULTS 1) Compile, examine and compare the syllabi and methodologies in literature teaching in different European countries identifying good practice in successful collaboration across borders. 2) Analyze the different types and resources of distance learning that involved universities are engaged in and identifying areas for development and improvement. 3) Contribute to the debate on transnationalism and on the importance of literature teaching by focusing on the interdisciplinarity of the Philippine Literature in Spanish, which helps to understand trends in History, Sociology, Anthropology, Art, English Studies, Asian Studies, Language evolution and Languages in contact. 4) Design guidelines and tools for the development and running of courses on Literature using Digital Humanities, on Distant Learning and on Philippine Literature in Spanish which can be used by any European university. 6) Contribute to the training of docents in methodologies of distance learning that allow an optimization of the efficiency to get closer to the actual classroom experience, and promoting open education. PARTNERS The transnational context in which this project is set is that of a network of 5 young universities from 3 different European countries: Universiteit Antwerpen (Belgium), Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Spain), UNED (Spain), Université Paris Nanterre (France) and Université Clermont-Auvergne (France). We work in collaboration with an extensive network of colleagues around the world including Universidad Ateneo de Manila (Philippines) as associate partner. IMPACT At the European level, the project paves the way for diversifying the syllabi in Literature and the Humanities, the revalorization of literature, as well as narrowing the gap between research and education. It reaches well beyond the consortium, to have a strong impact on institutions that have expressed an interest in the project as can be in the annexes. It will be ensured with a range of multiplier events. In the short-term, the outputs of this project should provide institutions in Europe with the necessary tools and resources to incorporate Digital Humanities and Philippine Literature to their teaching. Sustainability of the project is guaranteed by the use of both, universities and European platforms to publish the expected intellectual outputs (guidelines, teaching materials, and MOOCs).

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The Philippines and Equatorial Guinea in the Spanish Literary Production of the Early Francoism (1939-1955). 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2023

Abstract

This dissertation project will investigate the representations of race and gender in a selected corpus of Spanish literary works about the Philippines and Equatorial Guinea. These works were written during the early Francoism (1939-1959), a period in which Equatorial Guinea was still a Spanish territory while the Philippines, not a Spanish colony any longer, was the object of imperial nostalgia in Spain. Recent studies have examined the existence of a colonial consciousness in Spanish modern literature although imperialistic dreams became especially pervasive during the Francoist period. At that time, the idea of the former Empire became an organizing symbol of Spanish nationalism and agglutinated several groups with expansionist aspirations. The doctoral student would undertake this project in the context of larger research conducted by the promotor and co-promotor around Peninsular literary works about the Philippines and Equatorial Guinea written between the late 19th century and the independence of Equatorial Guinea in 1968. Studies about the intersections between Spanish (post)colonial identity and its cultural production have mostly concentrated on the portrait of Latin America, while Spanish literary works concerning former and current territories in Asia and Africa have been far less explored. Comparative approaches between the Spanish treatment of the Philippines and Equatorial Guinea are also scarce despite presenting significant parallels as peripheral colonies. Among other parallels, this dissertation will focus on the representations of race and gender, which in these two territories did not respond to the phenomenon of mestizaje developed in Latin America. As part of its analysis on racial representation, this dissertation will investigate how the discourse of La Hispanidad appeared in these literary works. A reactionary ideology deployed by Francoism, La Hispanidad was presented as an egalitarian spiritual community composed of the past and current Spanish colonial territories. This dissertation will explore how these literary texts racialized the colonial other and employed the rhetoric of La Hispanidad. It will examine the tensions, contradictions or rhetorical strategies derived of these discursive coexistence. For its theoretical framework, this dissertation will drew upon numerous scholarly works on gender, race and nationalism in colonial discourse (Burbank and Cooper 2010, Gilroy 1993, McClintock 1995, Stoler and Cooper 1997; Wilder 2007) as well as in recent scholarship (Fischer Tiné) that has remarked the relevance of undertaking colonial discursive analysis from the perspective of affect and emotion theories (Ahmed). The approach will combine a close and distant examination of representation in texts. The distant reading will be done with digital tools and the corpus will be digitized. As a first step, the student will perform a topic modelling of the corpus and then the student will proceed to do a close reading analysis to explain the results of the key topics obtained during the first step.

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Strengthening digital research at the UP system: digitization of rare periodicals and training in digital humanities. 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

This TEAM project funded by VLIR-UOS is a collaboration between the University of Antwerp and the University of the Philippines that combines an exchange of DH expertise and training with a specific digitization project of rare Philippine newspapers and magazines. The Universtity of Antwerp's project three promotors are Mike Kestemont, Dirk Van Hulle, and Rocío Ortuño. The project aims to improve the competitiveness of Philippine Humanities research in a globalized world, including the possibilities of student and professional mobility offered by the ASEAN confluence, by training faculty members and students in the field of Digital Humanities. The first and crucial step towards this objective (1) is the digitization of materials and the creation of a freely accessible environment with user friendly search facilities. Several periodicals published before World War II are in a precarious state of preservation and, located in Metro Manila, they are not accessible to all universities in the Philippines. By digitizing these periodicals and hosting them in a freely accessible online repository, they could be made available to all peripheral universities, and used in DH related research. Subsequently, (2) training in DH will be provided at different campuses of the University of the Philippines System. This training fits in the Philippine government's priority for promoting digital literacy both among scholars and the larger public. It also allows the University of the Philippines to participate in the global emergence and collaborative hallmark of DH.

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Philippines at the crossroads: mapping the international presence in the Philippine literary field in Spanish between 1872 and 1945. 01/04/2018 - 31/03/2019

Abstract

The Philippines, the only country in Asia with a major cultural production in Spanish, is geographically and has been historically a spot of intersection among routes between Asia and the Spanish Speaking world. This strategic position has had two consequences: (1) the multicultural composition of its national identity and cultural production, (2) that the country has been overshadowed as place of its own, to be only a transit point in international relations. By forgetting Philippine production, Hispanic studies have left behind a missing link that can contribute to explain the phenomenon of Hispanismo after 1898, and to trace the steps of cultural actors and mediators in the Spanish speaking world after the loss of the colonies, at the beginning of the new regime. This research aims to (1) map the literary field of the Philippines between 1872 and 1946 with special emphasis on the different ways of presence of international geo-cultural areas in it (2) to place the Philippine Studies in a wider interregional context of Hispanic Studies and Asian Studies. This is to be done using digital methodology, that allows considering a wide amount of data, to draw the literary field as Pierre Bourdieu considers it, with the international implications hinted by Pascale Casanova. In this way, we will be also bridging a traditional gap between Digital methodologies and critical applied research. The expected outcomes are: a database of cultural actors in the Philippine context, three articles to be published in journals, one international conference to be held in the University of Antwerp and a batch of digitized magazines and newspapers to be added to the repository being constructed by a VLIR-UOS funded project. This project should also set the grounds for future collaborations with other groups mapping the circulation of culture in the Spanish speaking world and Asia between the end of 19th and beginning of 20th centuries.

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