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Orientalists, Propagandists, and IlustradosFilipino Scholarship and the End of Spanish Colonialism$
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Megan C. Thomas

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816671908

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816671908.001.0001

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Locating Orientalism and the Anthropological Sciences

Locating Orientalism and the Anthropological Sciences

The Limits of Postcolonial Critiques

(p.23) Chapter 1 Locating Orientalism and the Anthropological Sciences
Orientalists, Propagandists, and Ilustrados

Megan C. Thomas

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter traces the sometimes conflicting political histories and significance of Orientalism’s methodological and thematic qualities as well as those of the related and younger anthropological sciences. Orientalism and the anthropological sciences employed methods, tropes, and themes whose particular features made them more or less available and useful to Filipino intellectuals. In order to better understand the specificities and significance of the Filipino case, the chapter begins by identifying the special significance that India has held in Orientalist (and subsequently postcolonial) scholarship, noting features of the Indian case that make it unique rather than a generalizable model. It then turns to Orientalism’s tools and presumptions. Two specific features of Orientalism are significant both in European Orientalist studies and for subsequent Indian and Filipino political-intellectual projects: first, Orientalism’s focus on authoritative texts; and second, its narrative of historical decline from ancient greatness. The chapter ends by describing some of the peculiarities of the late nineteenth-century scholarly world of the Philippines: its higher educational institutions, the unusual contours of Spanish Orientalism, and the dearth of Spanish scholarship about the Philippine islands and peoples. Throughout the chapter, scholarship about and of India appears as a point of comparison.

Keywords:   Orientalism, Philippines, India, political history, scholarly writings

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