José Rizal at 150: His Political and Intellectual Legacies

Sunday, June 19, 2011 @ 5:00am – 10:00am

Event Info




Newberry Library

60 W. Walton Street





This June marks the 150th anniversary of José Rizal’s birth. The Philippine Consulate General in Chicago, the Knights of Rizal, the Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago, and the Newberry Library offer this one-day symposium to commemorate the life and work of a man whose writings inspired a nation and whose legacy remains too little known in this country. Rizal papers and related Philippine materials from the Newbery’s collections will be on display.


10:00 am, Reception, Ruggles Hall

10:20 am, Remarks by the Philippine Consulate General and Presentation of Facsimiles to the Newberry Library. Speaker: Leo M. Herrera-Lim, Consul General of the Philippines.

10:30 am, "José Rizal and the Worlds of Late Nineteenth-Century Filipino Intellectuals." Speaker: Megan Thomas, University of California, Santa Cruz.

In the years preceding the Philippine Revolution of 1896, José Rizal wrote publicly about the problems and injustices of the Spanish colonial administration in the Philippines. In addition to his political writings and his famous incendiary novels, he also produced scholarship about the history, peoples, languages, and cultures of the Philippines. This work won him accolades from some of the most important scholarly circles of Europe. Yet Rizal was just one of a cadre of young Filipino scholars that created similar intellectual works. Scholar Megan Thomas will explore Rizal’s scholarly interests in relation to other late nineteenth-century Filipino intellectuals and the political, social, and intellectual context in which they lived and worked. Megan Thomas is Associate Professor of Politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of Orientalism, Propagandists, and Ilustrados: Filipino Scholarship and the End of Spanish Colonialism (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming), and was a Short-Term Resident Fellow at the Newberry Library in 2007-2008.

11:45 am, Break for Lunch.

1:00 pm, "The Dr. José P. Rizal Retraction Issue Revisited: A Personal Viewpoint." Speaker: Ramon G. Lopez, M.D.

A brilliant thinker and prolific writer, Dr. Rizal worked to improve the lives of his oppressed countrymen through political and ecclesiastical reforms. He was executed by firing squad by the Spanish colonial government on December 28, 1896. Since his martyrdom, contentious claims have arisen that he had recanted his political and religious beliefs and writings prior to his execution. Dr. Ramon G. Lopez, a great grand-nephew of the hero, will present his personal viewpoint on this historical matter.

Admission is free and no reservations are required.