Pasyon, Awit, Legend Reynaldo Ileto’s Pasyon and Revolution thirty years later: a critique
0 Chapter 1. Pasyon and Awit. Sources and hermeneutic in Pasyon and Revolution . The publication of Reynaldo Ileto‘s Pasyon and Revolution 1 in 1979 produced a seachange in Philippine historiography. Ileto‘s work shifted the focus of historical research from the writings and actions of individual members of the elite to the perceptions and revolutionary participation of the lower classes. All subsequent research in Philippine history has been written in the light of Pasyon and Revolution . R eference to Ileto‘s conclusions is de rigueur for a field of studies whose subject matter ranges from the pre-colonial structure of the barangay to the economic policies of the Marcos regime. Benedict Anderson expressed the consensus of academic opinion when he wrote that ―Ileto‘s masterly Pasyon and Revolution … is unquestionably the most profound and searching book on late nineteenth century Philippine history.‖ 2 Despite the preeminence of Pasyon and Revolution in Philippine studies, no one has written a comprehensive examination of the premises, source material, and conclusions of Ileto‘s work. This paper aims to fill this gap. The first chapter of the paper examines the argument of Pasyon and Revolution in detail. I find that Ileto‘s project of reconstructing the ways in which the lower classes of the Philippines in the late nineteenth century perceived the world and their role within it failed to achieve its goal for several reasons. Ileto never clearly defined what class or classes constitute his amorphous analytical cat egory ‗the masses.‘ He ignored how the source material which he studied was accessed through performance. As a result, Ileto read his sources as texts , in an elite 1 Reynaldo Ileto, Pasyon and Revolution: Popular Movements in the Philippines, 1840-1910 (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1979), hereafter PAR . All parenthetical pagination in this paper refers to PAR. 2 Benedict Anderson, The Spectre of Comparisons: Nationalism, Southeast Asia, and the World (New York: Verso, 1998), 199, fn. 19.
1 manner, and reconstructed categories of perception with no demonstrable relationship to peasant or working class consciousness. Chapter two aims to carry forward Ileto‘s project in the light of this critique. I study the legend of Bernardo Carpio in detail to demonstrate than when read with an attention to the significance derived from its performance, we arrive at a very different understanding of lower class consciousness than that which Ileto found. Rather than a counter-rational expression of peasant millenarianism, the legend was the ‗hidden transcript‘ of subversive historical memory. It celebrated the history of social banditry in the region.
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