Response: Metakomentaryo sa Pagkakataon ng Kolokyum Ukol sa “The Places of E. San Juan, Jr.”
In a provisional synthesis of his lifework, E. San Juan, Jr. surveys the issues and aporias that define his critical oeuvre. He warns at the outset against the narcissism of autobiographical acts, or what he calls the selfie mode. In locating himself, San Juan uses instead the historicizing lens. In this metacommentary, San Juan locates his life project between his birth in 1938, which saw the defeat of the Republican forces in Spain and the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy, and the new millennium marked by 9/11 and imperialist terrorism. He begins with the class background of his parents and moves on to discuss his years as an undergraduate at the University of the Philippines-Diliman; his graduate education at Harvard; his collaboration with Tagalog writers; his radicalization as a professor at the University of California-Davis, and at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, in the midst of the nationalist movements, the Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights era; and his late engagement with the question of racism. San Juan also names the sources of his radical politics as well as the aporias in his thinking, including his oversight of the historical genealogy of local cultures in Philippine vernacular literature, folklore, ecology, and mass media. He ends by reiterating the need to develop the discourse of critique in the hope of reinscribing the ideal kingdom of the Categorical Imperative into the immanent adventure of humanity in its reflexive history.