Translation and Memory: The Literary Worlds of the Spanish Philippines

Curated by Marlon James Sales, Barbara Alvarez, Fe Susan Go, Charlotte Fater, and Julia Irion Martins


This virtual exhibit organized by the Department of Comparative Literature and the U-M Library as part of the Mellon-funded Sawyer Seminar Series Sites of Translation in the Multilingual Midwest is an introductory digital resource for the critical study of translation and Filipino Hispanism. Using materials from various libraries and archives, especially those from U-M, this exhibit traces the development of Hispanofilipino literature through the lens of translation.

This exhibit coincides with the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the first Spanish expedition to the Philippines. Beyond the romanticized, and admittedly erroneous, idea that it was the year of its discovery, 1521 marks the first time this Southeast Asian archipelago came in contact with an emerging Hispanophone space centered around the Pacific.

The items selected for this exhibition represent cultural perspectives from a specific place or time. Some of the items contain culturally sensitive or racist material and may be considered offensive or objectionable to some audiences. This content is not provided as an endorsement from the library but offered to allow space for our community to confront challenging histories through scholarship and discussion. Please use your discretion while exploring this site. Individual pages that contain culturally sensitive or racist materials will also be labeled.   

The Spanish Philippines in the US Midwest

The US Midwest is an indispensable site for anyone who wishes to research Filipino history, culture, and society. Several Midwestern..

A Historically Multilingual Space

It would be incorrect to characterize the Spanish Philippines as monolingual. During a period when knowledge about Philippine languages was..

Missionary Writing

Translation in the Philippines was intimately linked to the development of the printing press and the conversion of the colonized..

Indigenous Voices

The early history of print literature in the Spanish Philippines is populated with references to European authors. Only a few..

Filipino Enlightenment

Migration from Spain and Latin America to the Philippines was limited throughout the colonial period. What little Spanish that reached..

Rizal’s Noli and Fili

A good part of the scholarship in Hispanofilipino literature revolves around one author and his two novels.

Between Two Powers

A selection of materials displayed on this page contains culturally sensitive or racist content and may be considered offensive by..

Resisting English

It was through US colonization that English entered the Filipino literary world. American teachers, popularly referred to as the Thomasites,..

A Golden Age?

The US rule in the first half of the twentieth century ironically paved the way for Hispanofilipino literature to have..

Near-Death and Afterlives

The second half of the 20th century was a period of decline for Hispanofilipino literature. The promotion of a Tagalog-based..