UPCMu Research Projects

Book Project: The Making of Philippine National Culture, 1880-1941. A History of Cultural Nationalism in the Philippines [forthcoming in 2016]

Editor-in-Chief: José S. Buenconsejo, PhD

Book Description: This proposed scholarly book deals with the development of cultural nationalism in the Philippines from 1880 to around 1941. The chosen time period spans the years when Filipino intellectual culture started, spread, and fermented in the country. Concerning the realm of idea and its genealogy, this culture was revolutionary for it fostered education in Philippine society. It was, in fact, the lynchpin for the quest for colonial reforms and then freedom from colonialism/imperialism in Philippine political history.

At first "cultivated" by ilustrado elite Filipino families, it led to the emergence of literary and musical public spheres in urban areas that cut across social divisions in the colony-turned-nation. It was this ideology that "engineered" cultural productions that led to a critical consciousness of Filipino nationhood. A parallel stream of cultural productions also existed among the Filipino poor and which this book will later reveal. The birth of the Philippine Republic in 1946 would not have been possible without the said cultural nationalism.

In the age of information, contemporary scholars in the country still lack an appreciation of the importance of culture in national development, in particular in the critical period when Spanish and American imperialisms were fought, not by mere physical violent means, but also importantly at the level of symbols and artistic expressions. Conventional historians mostly deal only with political/diplomatic history, but this is blind to a historiography that highlights social experience that this book hopefully will achieve. Thus, this project stands as a corrective to mainstream historiography for it argues that politics can be made through the arts and humanities, in short by culture.

The institutionalization of the UP Conservatory of Music in 1916 was at the heart of this Philippine cultural nationalism. It was a product of a vision that sprang from diverse intellectual traditions, one that was in continuity with the hispanismo past, constructed in the age of American sajonismo, but bearing a trajectory for a sovereign indigenous aspiration.

The book, which is an anthology of high quality research work with solid interpretations and writerly style, commemorates the 100 years of UP College of Music. . This song was composed by Constancio de Guzman in early 1920s when he was a student in UP Conservatory of Music, under the tutelage of composer Nicanor Abelardo. De Guzman later on became a successful film music composer.