TIMELY INTERVENTIONS IN THE CRISIS OF CAPITALIST GLOBALIZATION
Noted Filipino scholar E. SAN JUAN, JR. intervenes again in the urgent debates in racial conflicts and international relations with four scholarly works in the last two years.
In the midst of the flag-waving lunacy afflicting the U.S. after 9/11 and the current racist war on national liberation struggles, San Juan seems to be a solitary “voice in the wilderness.” His new collection of essays on cultural theory and comparative politics, IN THE WAKE OF TERROR: Class, Race, Nation, Ethnicity in the Postmodern World (Lexington Books, 2007), offers critiques of U.S. interventions and the destructive effects of globalized neoliberalism in culture and humanistic studies. It focuses on the dialectic of class, race and ethnicity in the context of global capitalism.
The other important work to be released by Palgrave Macmillan (2008) this September is U.S. IMPERIALISM AND REVOLUTION IN THE PHILIPPINES. Here San Juan reviews the record of U.S. colonialism and neocolonial domination of the Philippines, centering on a critique of the ideological mechanisms of cultural and political control in imperial discourse and practices. The book contains documents on the human-rights violations of the Arroyo regime, including the verdict of the Permanent People’s Tribunal Session 2 at The Hague, Netherlands, last March 2007.
Recently released by the Edwin Mellen Press this year is CRITIQUE AND SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION: LESSONS FROM ANTONIO GRAMSCI, MIKHAIL BAKHTIN AND RAYMOND WILLIAMS. This work attempts to interpret and evaluyate the historical-materialist critiquye of modern society by three progressive thinkers: Gramsci, Bakhtin and Williams. Precipitated by the early crisis of global capitalism in the 20th century, the insights of Gramsci into hegemony and national-popular culture ushered the birth of Cultural Studies and a wide-ranging world-systems analysis. Bakhtin’s concept of the “sign as the arena of class struggle” has offered a radical break with the elitist mystifications of deconstructive postmodernism. Deployingh Gramsci’s theory of strategic intervention into the political economy of complex social formations and using Bakhtin’s dialogic imagination, Williams explored the contradictory “structures of feeling” in a world with multi-layered conflicts across class, gender, race, etc.; with diverse communities harboring their singular visions or democratic socialism. Gramsci, Bakhtin, and Williams’ exemplary critical reflectios continue to inspire concerned intellectuals everywhere. From a dialectical inquiry into controversies and arguments engaged by these three major thinkers, E. San Juan’s scholarly project seeks to articulate a transformative praxis useful for all activist cultural workers today confronting the demise of the barbaric neoliberal enpire of fianance-capital headed by the moribund U.S.nation-state.
San Juan’s book TOWARD FILIPINO SELF-DETERMINATION, to be released this August 2009 by the State University of New York Press, Albany, updates his previous works on the Filipino diaspora found in FROM EXILE TO DIASPORA (Westview Press) and AFTER POSTCOLONIALISM (Rowman and Littlefield), with substantial explorations into the situation and plight of Overseas Filipino Workers, now about 9 million scattered around the planet. Is the term/concept “transnational” appropriate to an emergent nation? Perry Anderson gave the most powerful criticism of the neoliberal use of “transnational” in his Editorial Note to NEW LEFT REVIEW, issue 14 (March-April 2002), which many scholars have failed to take heed. San Juan rejects the whole alibi and fraud behind “transnationalism” as well as “cosmopolitanism,” to which Filipinos and Filipino Americans continue to succumb. Apart from this, San Juan provides the only left/radical alternative to the current Filipino-American assimilationist, self-serving, and opportunist tendency in the U.S. academy, as well as those in the Philippines and elsewhere, who seek recognition and kudos from the Western/global North Establishment.
A Filipino resident in the U.S., San Juan is an internationally recognized cultural critic whose works have been translated into French, German, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, and other languages. San Juan’s two previous books, Racial Formations/Critical Transformations (Humanity Books), now a classic in ethnic studies, and After Postcolonialism: Remapping Philippines-U.S. Confrontations (Rowman and Littlefield), won the Myers Human Rights Awards. He has also received a MELUS award and the Asian American Association Prize for distinguished contributions to the discipline of cultural studies.
San Juan was previously a Fulbright lecturer at the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, and visiting lecturer at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. San Juan’s previous works include The Philippine Temptation (Temple UP); Beyond Postcolonial Theory (Palgrave Macmillan), Racism and Cultural Studies (Duke UP); Working Through the Contradictions (Bucknell UP); and Himagsik (De La Salle UP). Available in the Philippines are:Allegories of Resistance; a re-issue of Toward a People’s Literature, and a new collection of poems, Sapagkat Iniibig Kita, all published by the University of the Philippines Press. Forthcoming are Balikbayang Sinta: An E. San Juan Reader (Ateneo U Press) and From Globalization Toward National Liberation (U.P. Press). San Juan taught at several universities, including the University of California, Brooklyn College of CUNY, University of Connecticut, and Washington State University. He was recently a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center at Bellagio, Italy; 2009 fellow of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. –##
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