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Filipino Book Historians in Oxford

Von Totanes, May Jurilla, Megumi Ishida, Amadio Arboleda

From left: Me, May Jurilla, Megumi Ishida and Amadio Arboleda.
The photo above was taken at the opening reception of the 2008 annual conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP). In case you're wondering what it is that book historians do, the SHARP website provides the following description:
Book historians study the social, cultural, and economic history of authorship; the history of the book trade, copyright, censorship, and underground publishing; the publishing histories of particular literary works, authors, editors, imprints, and literary agents; the spread of literacy and book distribution; canon formation and the politics of literary criticism; libraries, reading habits, and reader response.
More concrete examples may be seen in the papers we presented. Patricia May B. Jurilla, author of the newly-published Tagalog Bestsellers of the Twentieth Century, spoke on "Book Alike: Publishing and Photocopying Textbooks in the Philippines." The photo below illustrates the question that went through the minds of those who attended the session: Which one is the original book and which are the photocopies?

May Jurilla
Megumi Ishida and Amadio Arboleda presented a paper on the "Catalytic Role of Major Bookstores in National Book Culture: Case Study of Maruzen Company, Ltd." We all considered Ishida an honorary Filipina because she did her thesis on "The Role of Bookstores in Book Distribution: The Case of the Philippines." Arboleda, her mentor, is Filipino, finished high school and college in the Philippines, and has lived in Japan for more than three decades. We were joking about how Filipinos all seem to be related, when Jurilla and Arboleda discovered that they do have a common link, and may in fact be related to one another!

My paper was on "Teodoro Agoncillo's History of the Filipino People and the History of the Filipino History Book." All of us were part of different panels, but mine was the only one where we were all present because Jurilla and Ishida-Arboleda were on panels scheduled at the same time.

If you're interested in learning more about book history, a panel entitled "On the History of the Book in the Philippines" will be held at the forthcoming 8th International Conference on Philippine Studies. Papers will be read by Ambeth Ocampo, Karina Bolasco, May Jurilla and myself.

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