2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

The Philippines Revolution and the Spanish-American War: The Achievements and Limits to Historiography of National History and Autonomous History in
Southeast Asia

Tsung-Rong Edwin Yang

Ph.D. Candidate, Division of Pacific and Asian History, Australian National University

This paper deals with the historical construction of the Philippines Revolution in 1898 and the historiographical implications of this construction on national history as written and taught in Southeast Asia. It starts from an analysis of the centenary celebration of National Day in the Philippines in 1998. The idea of this centenary event is based on aparticular historical discourse, in which the Philippines Revolution in 1898is seen as an unfinished revolution. So in this tradition the history of the Philippines as a nation is traced upwards from this point. This discourse makes the local people the subjects of historical study, which is one characteristic of the development of “autonomous history” in postwar Southeast Asia. This is a basic issue of historiography in Southeast Asian history. Autonomous history approaches its topics from the point of view of the Southeast Asian people concerned, rather than from outsidersor colonialistsviews. Indigenous discourse and autonomous history are key channels to understanding of national spirit and historical consciousness in Southeast Asia. They can also lead to some limitations and risks in historical inquiry. This paper analyses the study of the Philippines Revolution in the Philippines to show the influence of this historical discourse in research and in social practice. Then the historical context of Spanish-American War is raised to show the extent of difference in view points in the study of the Philippines Revolution. Through examination of concrete examples, it shows the achievements and limitations of autonomous history in this region.


Keywords: Philippines, national day, revolution, nation-building, Southeast Asia, historiography, indigenous discourse, autonomous history, national anthem, Tagalog, Spanish-American War, Latino tradition