"Rethinking Filipino Precolonial Heritage" by F. Landa Jocano: An Analysis

I recently found some academic soft copies of paperwork from a Rhetoric class I took in order to complete the English units required in Law School.  I was forced to take this subject in 2001-2002 from an MA in Language and Literature subject.  It was the only available subject I could find that would fit my work and law school schedules. The work below is one paper among a few of the course requirements I submitted.  Others will also be posted before I lose the files.  

Here's the first post in the series.  It's a personal academic essay about the place I grew up in.
Thank you, Ma'am Vicky Rico-Costina, for adopting me in your class.  It was a very enriching class. Congratulations for your recently published book, "For Those Who Love Cats"
           The 21st Century promises to be a century of giant leaps and radical changes.  There has been a constant flow of change in the manner of human action, perception, and thought.  Almost every serious scholar has joined this wave of rethinking about that which he or she specializes in.

            In “Rethinking Filipino Precolonial Heritage,” F. Landa Jocano (Here's a very interesting and inspiring short biography.  Read it!) argues that such kind of rethinking needs to be done as well in the study of the history and culture of Filipinos prior to colonization.  He attempts to advance his position through a scholarly, albeit preliminary paper.

            Such work is not only interesting for its historical and academic value in the field of Philippine history and culture but also for us humble students of the conventions of academic writing.  As Jocano attempts to persuade the reader, it is worthy to note that he has substantially complied with the conventions of academic writing as enumerated by Podis in his book, “Rethinking Writing.

            Jocano started well by stating his main idea at the start of his paper.  Stating that such paper is a “reexamination and reinterpretation of salient facts about Filipino pre-colonial society and culture” does not leave his reader to wander through his paragraphs not knowing what the  author really wants to point at.  He has also demonstrated thorough knowledge of the topic, both as regards his point of view and those of the current and contradicting beliefs on the subject.  The citations of illustrations and other authorities also help in creating an academic mood.  His method of written persuasion proves itself worthy of consideration due to his decision to structure his work in such a way that all the controversial issues would be presented and rebutted methodically and in a non-hostile manner.  His main tactic of using the very standards of western thought on “civilization” is very appropriate.  In so doing he finds common ground with the person espousing an opposite opinion and subtly invites him to reason with him.

            Such method of entering the adversary’s own arena in order to win him or her over is a wise way of enforcing the conventions of academic writing.  In fact, this enabled him to employ such conventions while at the same time affording himself a concise and hopefully, decisive intellectual victory.  Presenting alternating points of view becomes such an easy task as the method he enlists naturally adopts and blends with his non-hostile, opponent’s-own-arena, tactic.

            He also finished his paper well through an organized summary of his main point and the method by which he presented the same.  Thus, although Jocano’s paper needs a more in depth analysis of the subject, his preliminary effort promises to be the herald of a broader and potentially successful treatise based on his proper use of the conventions of academic writing.


Incidentally, I had the great privilege of visiting an archaeological field study in Batangas the other day.  What joy it is to see young, intelligent people digging treasures of our Philippine past.  Blog link here.

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