Title

Cosmopolitanism in Corregidor: Second World War Monuments as Sites of Memory For Cosmopolitan Politics

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science, major in Global Politics (Thesis Track)

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Benjamin A. San Jose, PhD

Abstract

One problem that plagues war monuments established by nation-states seems to be the exclusivity and contentiousness of their messages; as war monuments commemorate the greatness of the nation despite war’s extremes, other collectivities seemingly find themselves unable to ascribe to the monument’s significations. In addition, glorious narratives ignore the destructive and unnecessary character of war. Meanwhile, monuments themselves battle obsolescence through a realigning and balancing of their significations to the present sociopolitical context. Given a Second World War monument, Corregidor; and cosmopolitanism, a political and ethical theory that puts humanity at the center of its affairs, this thesis interrogates how the said monument bears cosmopolitical motifs – arguments which highlight the need for humanity to realize community regardless of creed, nationality, or any other affiliations. Through a content analysis of the island’s sites and an interview with its site caretakers, augmented by archival research, this thesis argues that the island’s many sites were imbued with cosmopolitan and cosmopolitical motifs from the start. Furthermore, Corregidor also demonstrates that the focus on the cosmopolitan does not necessarily threaten nation-state legitimacy, since its own values are aligned with the global commitment to the preservation of peace and democracy. Despite these, these sites and their messages only go as far as to proclaim the values that would inform a cosmopolitan world; the acts needed to realize such come, as always, from humanity.

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