Philippine Studies: Double Book Launch and Discussion

Key information

2:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Russell Square: College Buildings
Khalili Lecture Theatre (KLT)
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About this event

As part of our 3-day programme for the annual SOAS Philippine Studies colloquium, please join us in launching two books that share several thematic connections.

The launch and conversation will be a unique opportunity to engage with the authors as they discuss their distinct approaches and research methods and  the importance of using archival primary sources in their work.

Refreshments will be served, and signed copies of the books will be available for purchase at the event.

Incomplete Conquests: The Limits of Spanish Empire in the Seventeenth-Century Philippines

by Stephanie Joy Mawson (Cornell University Press, 2023)

In Incomplete Conquests, Stephanie Joy Mawson uncovers the limitations of Spanish empire in the Philippines, unearthing histories of resistance, flight, evasion, conflict, and warfare from across the breadth of the Philippine archipelago during the seventeenth century. The Spanish colonization of the Philippines that began in 1565 has long been seen as heralding a new era of globalization, drawing together a multiethnic world of merchants, soldiers, sailors, and missionaries.

Colonists sent reports back to Madrid boasting of the extraordinary number of souls converted to Christianity and the number of people paying tribute to the Spanish Crown. Such claims constructed an imagined imperial sovereignty and were not accompanied by effective consolidation of colonial control in many of the regions where conversion and tribute collection were imposed. Incomplete Conquests foregrounds the experiences of indigenous, Chinese, and Moro communities and their responses to colonial agents, weaving together stories that take into account the rich cultural and environmental diversity of this island world.

About the author

Stephanie Mawson is a research fellow at the Instituto de Ciências Sociais, Universidade de Lisboa and a former research fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge. She received her doctorate from the University of Cambridge in 2019, where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar and a fellow at the Institute of Historical Research.

As an historian of empire in maritime Southeast Asia during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, her work focuses on questions of Indigenous agency, resistance, and sovereignty in the face of European imperial expansion, as well as global connections across Pacific and Indian Ocean worlds. She has published in leading historical journals including Past & PresentEthnohistory, and The American Historical Review.

Counter-Hispanization in the Colonial Philippines

by John D Blanco (Amsterdam University Press, 2023)

In Counter-Hispanization in the Colonial Philippines, the author analyzes the literature and politics of “spiritual conquest” in order to demonstrate how it reflected the contribution of religious ministers to a protracted period of social anomie throughout the mission provinces between the 16th–18th centuries.

By tracking the prose of spiritual conquest with the history of the mission in official documents, religious correspondence, and public controversies, the author shows how, contrary to the general consensus in Philippine historiography, the literature and pastoral politics of spiritual conquest reinforced the frontier character of the religious provinces outside Manila in the Americas as well as the Philippines, by supplanting the (absence of) law in the name of supplementing or completing it.

This frontier character accounts for the modern reinvention of native custom as well as the birth of literature and theater in the Tagalog vernacular.

About the author

John D. (Jody) Blanco is the author of Frontier Constitutions. He teaches early modern and modern Hispanophone and Philippine literature and culture. He also translated Julio Ramos’s book Divergent Modernities of Latin America into English.

He is currently the Director of Latin American Studies at UC San Diego.