Prologue: Pasts and Futures of E. San Juan, Jr.

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In this synthetic introductory essay, I consider the places of E. San Juan, Jr. as gleaned from the contributions to this special section: from San Juan’s childhood in Manila and early education at the University of the Philippines at a time when veterans of the 1898 Revolution were still alive and peasant-based insurgency was on the rise; to his implicit contribution to the study of popular culture in the Philippines in the context of the emergence of nationalist struggle in the 1960s; to his turning point as a materialist literary critic who wrote the study on Bulosan which coincided with his own decision to stay in the United States; to his participation in anti-Marcos organizing as an exile devoted to the radical future of his homeland; to his maturation as a theorist of race and racism in American institutions of higher education; to his contributions to the development of Filipino Critical Theory and environmental activism; to his systematic critique of Western capitalist modernity as a major scholar from the Third World; and finally, to his attempt to vernacularize international solidarity. I argue that San Juan’s body of work constitutes a decolonizing archive that records the unfulfilled projects of liberation struggles from the last century. I also suggest that such an archive is noteworthy because it reveals the direction of Third World revolutionary critique from decolonization to the crisis of globalization today.