2 Professors Tackle Significance of Local History Writing

2 Professors Tackle Significance of Local History Writing

Two history professors of Silliman University spoke recently at a national event that encouraged participants to develop their hometowns' local histories.

Office of Student Affairs Dean Prof. Carlos Magtolis, Jr. and College of Education Dean Dr. Earl Jude Cleope were speakers at the national “Seminar-Workshop on Local History Writing” hosted last month by the University of Bohol and sponsored by the National Committee on Historical Research of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

They each presented a paper that highlighted the need for a local perspective to an appreciation of the contribution of and the link among the different islands that comprise the Philippines. Both said most reading materials are general in terms of coverage and are more focused on the country’s national history.

In his presentation, “Perspectives and Approaches in Local History and Research”, Prof. Magtolis discussed how to provide structure to the writing of local history. He shared the experience of Silliman University where graduate students in History are encouraged to develop articles and research materials on the local history of their respective hometowns.

“We encourage our faculty who are taking their MA in History to write on their local history rather than just any broad topic. This will contribute to enriching Philippine history and allow for more historians to write a more comprehensive Philippine history, based on local history studies,” Prof. Magtolis said.

He added that writing on local history also enhances local culture and provides grounding to a unique set of traditions, practices and beliefs.

On the other hand, Dr. Cleope explained that writing of local history provides a better understanding not only of a hometown’s unique historical characteristics but also its link to the entire region. This, he said, enhances at the end one’s knowledge of national history.

He discussed this further in his presentation, “Navigational, Maritime, Trading and Colonization in the Visayas Region”, which traced the bigger role that Bohol played in the ambit of the Visayan maritime trading.

“When you write local history you have to open your eyes that these things happen because of the interconnectivity of the whole Visayan Islands,” he said.

The event in Bohol gathered over 60 teachers, researchers and graduate students.