The Filipino 1950s

Dr Lisandro Claudio, Dr. Joseph Scalice, Dr. Gideon Lasco, Mr. Aaron Mallari

1University Of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, United States, 2Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore, 3University of the Philippines, Diliman, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 4University of the Philippines, Diliman , Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

Chair: Dr Lisandro Claudio


The 1950s are often overlooked in Philippine historiography. Before the decade was the period of war and reconstruction. After it, was the period of student radicalism and, eventually, the Marcos dictatorship. For many historians, the 1950s were a mere interlude in twentieth-century Philippine history.

A closer examination of this period, the first complete decade in the post-colonial era, reveals an underlying political and intellectual ferment that proved formative for subsequent Philippine politics and intellectual debate. The contending forces of cold war conformity and non-aligned nationalisms, of retail trade nationalization and anti-Chinese chauvinism, expressed themselves in a wide range of contemporary disputes which proved to be of far-reaching signficance.

This panel revisits the 1950s to trace the origins of many contemporary debates in the Philippines. In particular, it examines the intellectual atmosphere that produced popular ideas about epidemics, drug policy, economic austerity, and radical nationalism. The four papers contend that discourses from the 1950s continue to shape Philippine policy today, even during the disruptive Duterte administration.



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