Vicente L. Rafael
Vicente L. Rafael is a professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Washington, Seattle. He received his B.A. in history and philosophy from Ateneo de Manila University in 1977 and his Ph.D. in history at Cornell University in 1984. Prior to teaching at the University of Washington, Rafael taught at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Currently, he sits on advisory boards of Cultural Anthropology, Public Culture, and positions.
Rafael has researched and taught on Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, comparative colonialism, particularly of Spain and the United States, and comparative nationalism. Though a historian, he has also focused on the related fields of cultural anthropology and literary studies and pursued topics ranging from language and power, translation and religious conversion, technology and humanity, and the politics and poetics of representation.
In 1993, Duke University Press published Contracting Colonialism: Translation and Christian Conversion in Tagalog Society Under Early Spanish Rule, in which Rafael examined the role of language and translation in the religious conversion of Tagalogs to Catholicism during the early period of Spanish rule of the Philippines. In 1995, Temple University Press published a collection he edited entitled Discrepant Histories: Translocal Essays on Filipino Cultures that studied a number of issues in the formation of the Philippine nation-state and translocal Filipino cultures. In 1999, Cornell University Press published Figures of Criminality in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Colonial Vietnam, a collection of essays on the relationships between criminality and colonial state formation. In 2000, Duke University Press published his White Love and Other Events in Filipino History, a challenging of traditional, epic narratives of Filipino history and especially the emergence of revolutionary nationalism. His most recent work is The Promise of the Foreign: Nationalism and the Technics of Translation in the Spanish Philippines, also published by Duke University Press, in 2005. Its main argument is that translation was crucial to the emergence of Filipino nationalism, a mechanism from which was issued the promise of nationhood.