Art Exhibits and Performances / Lectures/Workshops

Events this October

The UBC Philippine Studies Series
together with the Liu Institute for Global Issues,
in cooperation with the
Global and Transnational Ethnographies Research Network,
St. John’s College,
and the Trudeau Foundation

invite you a two-day event with

Dr. Vicente Rafael, University of Washington

About the Speaker: Dr. Vince Rafael is a renowned historian teaching at the University of Washington, whose cross-cultural work focuses on the Philippines, comparative colonialism and nationalism. He is writer and editor of several books, including White Love and Other Events in Filipino History and  Contracting Colonialism, which both won the Philippines National Book Award for History awarded by the Manila Critics’ Circle in 2000 and 1989, respectively. He was also the recipient of fellowships, such as the Simpson Humanities Center at the University of Washington Fellowship (2004-2005), Andrews Visiting Chair at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Residential Fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation in Italy (1997), the Mellon Fellowship at Stanford University (1986-87), and many others. Dr. Rafael received his PhD and Masters in History from Cornell University, and his undergraduate degree in History and Philosophy from Ateneo de Manila University with highest honours.

OCTOBER 27, 2011 , 1:00-2:45pm
Targeting Translation: US Counterinsurgency and the Politics of Language

Open Lecture with Dr. Vicente Rafael and with comments by Dr. Derek Gregory, Dept. of Geography, Peter Wall, Distinguished Professor

Much has been written about the revival of counterinsurgency in the wake of the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Emphasizing the “protection of the population” from insurgent forces, such a strategy requires familiarity with local cultures and languages. This paper will focus on counterinsurgent attempts to “weaponize” and target local languages by way of translation. It asks the following: How does the notion of language as an instrument of war entail the deployment of translation as a means to colonize and convert the life worlds of occupied populations? What are the ways by which translation itself is militarized – for example, in the teaching of foreign languages to soldiers, the development of automatic translation systems, and the exploitation of the mediating power of native interpreters? To what extent do such efforts succeed or fail? Are there aspects of language itself that resist reduction into mere instruments of war? How does linguistic resistance pose an absolute limit to the militarized control of translation? What does such a limit on the weaponization of speech tell us about the vicissitudes of counterinsurgency (and its strategic sibling, counterterrorism) as a means for sustaining U.S. global hegemony? Are there moments when language and translation are de-weaponized, rupturing the project of counterinsurgency and undermining the metaphysics of communication that underwrites American imperial ideology?

Update: See video from the event

OCTOBER 28, 2011, 1:00-3:30pm
Philippine Migration Workshop

This workshop features a discussion of historian Vince Rafael’s writings on the Philippine diaspora, the conjunction between nationalism and cosmopolitanism and the productive tensions between the study of history and ethnography.
Limited seats only, kindly RSVP with

Prior to the workshop, participants are strongly encouraged to read the following:

  • Introduction, Chapters 2, 4, 5, 6 of The Third Asiatic Invasion: Empire and Migration in Filipino America, 1898-1946 by Rick Baldoz (2011) (On reserve at the UBC Library)
  •  “Your Grief is Our Gossip” in White Love and other Events in Filipino History by Vicente Rafael (2000), or in Public Culture 1997 Vol 9(2):267-291
  • Preface, Introduction and Chapter 1 of The Promise of the Foreign by Vicente Rafael (2005). Available to UBC students online at

OCTOBER 28, 2011, 7:30pm onwards
Opening and reception for art exhibit, MAHAL

YACTAC artist-run space, 56th & Ontario St., Vancouver

In his book "White Love", Vicente Rafael considers the Tagalog word mahal as a translation of the word love. It refers to that which is dear, but also means valuable and expensive. Rafael writes that such ambiguities express love as a promise of fulfillment – a costly one. MAHAL explores the desires which carry the Filipina/o across borders.

This exhibit, organized by the UBC Philippine Studies Series, will run until November 4, 2011.

Update: See photos from the event

2 thoughts on “Events this October

  1. Pingback: Photos from the Mahal Art Exhibit and an Essay by Chaya Erika Go | UBC Philippine Studies Series

  2. Pingback: Video from Targeting Translation: US Counterinsurgency and the Politics of Language | UBC Philippine Studies Series

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s