Reuben Ramas Cañete, PhD: Scholar, Critic, Artist (1966–2017)

reuben_ramas_canete_1966_2017Here’s a piece I wrote in tribute to a colleague and professor. It was originally posted in the UP Asian Center website. 

The students, staff, and faculty of the Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman, are deeply saddened by the passing of their teacher, colleague, and mentor, Reuben Ramas Cañete, Ph.D., last 17 February 2017. He was 50.

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Reel Justice: Filipino Action Movies in a Time of Killing

decBelow are the opening paragraphs of an essay I wrote for Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia (Young Academic Voice).

This year saw the premiere of Itumba ang mga Adik (Kill the Addicts) in the Philippines. Shot in streets across the country, from narrow alleys to cramped rooms, the controversial film stars vigilantes, (suspected) drug users and dealers, crime syndicates, and innocent civilians. It has been a bloody tale of crime and punishment.  Continue reading

I-Nag-Na-In-An-Um: Routine, Habit, Accident and the Other Meanings of Tagalog Affixes

i-nag-na-in-an-um-the-kinds-and-intentions-of-actions-in-tagalog…..A way of teaching translation and language – based on the linguistic notion of focus (on the subject or object of an action) — does not quite capture the full essence of Tagalog and its conjugation system for verbs.  It is still a useful technique to learn the language because it allows us to differentiate a two verbs conjugated differently. When it is our only framework however, we obscure the special quality of Tagalog: its preference not so much on the focus of the action (its doer or object) as on the kind, extent, level, manner, intention behind that action.  Continue reading

Seeing Conjunctions, Making Comparisons: An Essay In Honor Of Benedict Anderson

benedict_anderson_up_asian_centerHere are some excerpts of my/our tribute to Benedict Anderson for Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia. He was a member of our international advisory board. Photo: UP Asian Center. 

The weekend of 12–13 December 2015 marked two milestones in the history of Southeast Asian Studies. First, scholars in and on Southeast Asia—or a country therein—gathered in the ancient capital of Japan, Kyoto, for the Southeast Asian Studies in Asia (SEASIA) Conference. Organized by scholars and institutions based in the region, this was a historic first in the annals of Southeast Asian Studies. Second, a luminary of the field passed away in East Java, Indonesia around midnight of 12 December (Aguilar 2016). News of Benedict Anderson’s death came early and as a shock on the second day of the conference, 13 December. And it spread just as the participants were delivering their presentations.  Continue reading