The UP Press launched ten new books last September 5 at the Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman Campus, Quezon City.
Masculinity, Media, and their Publics in the Philippines undertakes critical investigations into the forms by which masculinity is imagined, intuited, and instrumentalized in the contemporary postcolonial space of the Philippines. These investigations are primarily foregrounded upon the analysis and reflection of the political economy in Philippine visual culture through which these forms of masculinity are manifested, particularly through mass media practice. Subjects of Dr. Reuben Ramas Canete’s essays in the book include Post-EDSA homoerotic cinema, outright pornography, Bench billboard ads, Manny Pacquiao, and the UP Oblation.
In Dance and Other Slippages, Rina Angela Corpus has compiled essays written from back when she was a graduate student in the 1990s, which, deal with questions in reading dance, art, and gender. The collection covers some of the most significant Philippine women choreographers, many of them pioneers in the field of dance. The essays explore and investigate the entanglements of aesthetics, sexual politics, and other realities that impact the field. Quoting Dr. Ann Dilis of the University of North Carolina: “(Corpus’s) subject are made vivid through evocative description and attention to individual perspective. Her intersectional analyses explore questions of representation and agency in ways specific to the communities and artists she studies.”
Maria L.M. Fres-Felix, author of Boy in the Platinum Palace and Other Stories, is described by National Artist F. Sionil Jose as one of the few writers today who knows how to write a story. He goes on to describe her as a consummate craftsman, possessing both style and originality. Jose goes on to praise her skillful use of choice verbs rather than adverbs and adjectives, as well as her ability to incorporate tiny details which contribute to the plausibility of the story. This collection of short stories, the author’s second with UP Press, covers a range of settings, from domiciles, to corporate offices, to care giving institutions. It does not limit itself to the present period buts makes a foray into the country’s colonial past.
The Postcolonial Perverse is a two-volume collection of fifteen different critiques of varying “aspects” of contemporary Philippine culture. The work’s “eclectic” topics range from the independent cinema movement to the mystifications of nationalist poetics, from sacrilegious “avant-garde” art to the deconstruction of an inaugural text in the Philippine anglophone tradition, and from reflections on the contact zone between science and art to the impertinent question of our foremost national hero’s quizzical gender and sexual identity. The title’s two concepts—“postcolonial” and “perverse”—are almost symmetrically split across these two books, urging the reader to more sharply intuit and “experience” the project’s central theme. Namely: that the postcolonial hybridity or cultural mixedness that characterizes Philippine life is the same thing as the perverse inability of its agents to stay committed to principled and categorical thought. In the Preface the author, Professor J. Neil C. Garcia, offers the reading that it is perhaps our culture’s relatively recent and uneven literacy—as well as its enduring residual orality—that has brought this “perverse” situation about, rendering Filipino social memory fluid and malleable on one hand, and social relations and norms eminently negotiable on the other. And yet, what’s interesting is that it is precisely upon this ambivalent cultural ground that Filipinos must endeavor to fashion their sense of collective being—which is to say, their national identity.
Taburos is the Waray word for “spindrift,” and newly retired UP Visayas Professor Victor N. Sugbo has titled his bilingual poetry collection Taburos Han Dagat to pay tribute to his sea-bordered hometown, Tacloban—the city of his fondest affections and now most lyrical grief, in the wake of typhoon Yolanda’s horrific onslaught on its hapless population. What makes this gathering of nostalgic poems interesting is that they were written by the author while living in temporary (and paradoxical) exile in various places in the arid Near East—an ironic experience of cross-cultural dialogue that the book itself captures in its parallel-text presentation of translations from the original Waray to English, which the poet himself so expertly performed… Delicate and elemental, the poems in either language are spindrift moments of brief but intense illumination, shimmering on the mind’s placid surface before vanishing, softly, into its meditative depths…
Edited by a team of experts, Media at Lipunan and Communication and Media Theories respond to the basic and urgent need for compendiums of scholarly ruminations on Philippine mass media culture—its texts, contexts, forms, and publics. This is the very first time that books of this sort have been assembled—comprised entirely of critical and theoretical essays on communication, mass media, and cultural studies, written exclusively by Filipinos—and the University of the Philippines Press is entirely enthused and honored to bring this project, conceived and implemented under the deanship of Dr. Roland Tolentino, to full fruition. While UP Press, in keeping with the university’s tradition of academic freedom, has not really been in the business of publishing prescribed “textbooks,” this series of co-publications with UP’s College of Mass Communication signals a sea change of sorts, for now the Press makes it known that excellent supplementary and reference books or “Readers” are most certainly welcome. Suffice it to say that these books document, organize, and make portable (and accessible) to the university as well as to the country’s general academic community the essential readings in the various Philippine-relevant knowledges.
UP Professor Emeritus Gerardo Sicat’s long-awaited biography of former Prime Minister Caesar Virata is a monumental work of scholarship and meticulous historical research on one hand, and a compellingly written and capacious piece of creative nonfiction on the other. As the author has envisioned the work, the subject’s life must unfold within the storied matrix of his nation’s economic history, to which he has made numerous significant contributions—as an educator in our country’s national university, as a technocrat and Prime Minister during the Marcos years, and thereafter as a private citizen, a banker, a community leader, and a respected senior statesman. Prime Minister Virata’s life therefore becomes a singular prism through which to see and appreciate the complexity of Philippine economic history, and in the deft and assiduous hands of Professor Sicat, the narration of this exemplary life becomes an occasion to contemplate just what devoted public service means, as abundantly embodied in the achievements of one of our country’s most eminent public servants—as well as one of our university’s most illustrious and accomplished sons. Finally, as told from the necessarily subjective perspective of an economist and participant-observer, Cesar Virata: Life and Times (Through Four Decades of Philippine Economic History) proves especially valuable in that it raises the discourse and inaugurates a much-needed intellectual space within which to engage in a serious and in-depth reflection on the convergences between our country’s economic and political histories.
Published in cooperation with the Los Baños campus of the University of the Philippines, the magisterial book, Changing Philippine Climate: Impacts on Agriculture and Natural Resources, presents the state of the knowledge on the adverse effects of man-made global warming on various physical features of the Philippine territory, focusing in particular on the weather, topographical, and aquatic systems, including their uniquely threatened biodiversities. Authored by a gathering of eminent Filipino scientists, this book is made even more salient by its inclusion of mitigation and adaptation strategies, as well as risk management recommendations, directed mostly at local and national structures of governance. True to its empirical commitment, however, this book never loses sight of the overall global picture of the urgent global problem, and thus invites the critical-minded reader to appreciate the complexity of the geopolitical situation within which any future—and necessarily geopolitically informed—solutions to this ecological emergency must be framed.
For more information, please call the UP Press Marketing Division at 926-6642, or visit uppress.com.ph on how to order.