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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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The Uses of Ethnology

The Uses of Ethnology

Thinking Filipino with “Race” and “Civilization”

(p.47) Chapter 2 The Uses of Ethnology
Orientalists, Propagandists, and Ilustrados

Megan C. Thomas

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter investigates how ethnological ideas were employed in scholarly discourse about the Philippines in the 1880s and early 1890s, focusing on T. H. Pardo de Tavera’s Sanskrit in the Tagalog Language, Pedro Paterno’s Ancient Tagalog Civilization and The Itas, and the “prehistory” section of Isabelo de los Reyes’ History of Ilocos. It examines these works in the context of, and in comparison with, other ethnological works from which they drew and to which they spoke. The methods and presumptions of ethnological sciences worked to find commonalities across some of the numerous ethnolinguistic boundaries in the Philippines—commonalities that suggested the existence of a cohesive “people” that predated and was independent of their Spanish civilization and so was proto-notional, as some ilustrado writings demonstrate. However, ilustrado writings reveal even more strongly that ethnological sciences were sometimes laden with a hierarchical politics that reinforced established narratives of civilization, even while translating those narratives into new terms. Whereas established narratives of “civilization” conceived its limits along the lines of universal religion, in the idiom of ethnological sciences the same exclusions and inclusions were reimagined along lines of plural ethnicities, peoples, or “races”.

Keywords:   ethnology, Philippines, race, scholarly discourse, ethnological sciences, ilustrado writings, civilization

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