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 libraries and archives have been collecting Philippine Studies materials over the years; the University of Michigan in particular has one of the most extensive Filipiniana collections in America. This happens even though Filipino migration in the Midwest is relatively scant than in other places in the US. Yet despite the body of scholarly literature produced to date, many archival materials remain untapped in a still developing field of inquiry that extends the mapping of the Philippines outside its usual geographic domains. That field is Filipino Hispanism.    

CROPPED Translation, Memory, and the Archive Banner

Charlotte Fater. Collage: Translation, Memory, and the Archive. 2021. 

Writing across languages within and in between texts has been a useful tool not only for the circulation of literature, but also for the production of historical knowledge. While conventional examples of translated texts have indeed been cited, the readers will immediately realize that translation in this exhibit goes beyond the conventional idea of transposing a piece of writing from one language to another. Instead, this exhibit presents a more expansive range of crosslinguistic processes including grammatization, multilingual writing, ethnographic narrative, pictorial records, etc., all of which illustrate the complex multilingual spaces that colonialism and cultural contact have created in the Philippines. Here we shall see that translation overlaps with the bigger questions of race, identity and colonialism, and participates in memorializing a past enunciated in multiple tongues. How did these materials end up in the Midwest? Why were they written in Spanish? What can Spanish-language texts from the Philippines teach us about colonial education and the archive?   

Suggestions for Further Reading:

Bandia, Paul F. 2010. “Post-colonial Literatures and Translation.” In Handbook of Translation Studies, edited by Yves Gambier and Luc Van Doorslaer, 264-269. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Bertacco, Simona, ed. 2013. Language and Translation in Postcolonial Literatures: Multilingual Contexts, Translational Texts. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.

Lifshey, Adam. 2012. The Magellan Fallacy: Globalization and the Emergence of Asian and African Literature in Spanish. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

A Historically Multilingual Space