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How Philippine Studies Began Belinda A. Aquino Although they are complementary and often used interchangeably, Philippine Studies and Filipino American Studies have separate origins and different scopes. The earlier of the two, Philippine Studies, or studies on Philippine society and culture, started in the early 1900s when the country became a colony of the United States. Commodore George Dewey’s defeat of the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay and the subsequent annexation of the archipelago in 1898 aroused great interest in American circles. The historical documents in the Spanish archives were translated into English by Emma Blair and James Robertson, and published in 55 volumes as The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803 . U.S. President William McKinley subsequently created the Philippine Commission to collect whatever data were available on the new American colony in Asia. It was headed by Jacob Schurman, then president of Cornell University, a prestigious Ivy League academic institution. Another professor, Dean C. Worcester of the University of Michigan, who had been in the Philippines in the 1890s, got other American academics like David Barrows, Albert Jenks and N. M. Saleeby to conduct ethnological studies on the indigenous tribes of the Mountain Province and the Muslims in Mindanao and Sulu. In time a group of scholars, mostly anthropologists, made their careers in Philippine studies. This group included H. Otley Beyer, Roy Barton, Fay Cooper Cole, Laura Benedict, and John Garvan. Beginnings of Philippine Studies In 1916 Beyer, who was to remain in the Philippines until his death, put out a landmark volume, Population of the Philippines. The book expressed the hope that “educated Filipinos will awake to the importance of preserving for future generations the history of their own race, and that scientists of other countries may grasp the fleeting opportunity to record knowledge of interest to the world at large.” Beyer eventually became a big name in Philippine archaeology and inspired other Western academics to study the Philippines. Carl Guthe headed the University of Michigan Expedition in 1922-25, which called attention to the country’s relationship with China and Southeast Asia in pre -Hispanic times. Linguists compiled a number of grammar books and dictionaries like the one on the Ibaloi language in Benguet by Otto Scheerer. A pioneering contribution, Tagalog Texts, by Leonard Bloomfield, was published by the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1917. The 1930s saw a flourishing interest in Philippine Studies, in part due to the efforts of Joseph Ralston Hayden, another University of Michigan professor who had been appointed Vice Governor General of the Philippines. The Philippine Council of the Institute of Pacific Relations requested Felix and Marie Keesing to undertake a study of government and culture in Northern Luzon. It was also in the 1930s that one of the earliest Filipino scholars in the U.S., Serafin

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