Public History - Jefferson R. Mendez

Aside to public health issues and uncertainties brought by the global pandemic, the world, especially my country Philippines has encountered problems related to the spread of fake news that aims to distort history and truth of our present for the interests of populists and demagogues. This is due to the rising authoritarian populism and digital liberalism as well as disruptions brought by globalization and technology. Today, the enemies of freedom have weaponized digital media to escalate fake news and historical revisionism. We must protect our freedom and our history against revisionism. To combat the rampant historical revisionism intending to empower selected families and histories in the country through widespread disinformation, I intend to create a Public history project that highlight an inclusive approach to the social sciences and make use of modern technology and innovations in order to holistically understand our identity as a Filipino people and to bring practical existence to the ever important role of liberal arts in the advent of technological developments.

This project will highlight a modern way of visualization of the past in the Philippines society in order to develop a more critical and reflexive way of looking into social problems among many Filipinos specially the youth today. My innovative project is called YAMAN Digital History, an interactive and user-friendly online repository of audiovisual material cultures of American and Japanese colonized Philippines. YAMAN is aiming to create an up-to-date visualization and collection of important materials of colonization across times through digital technologies and infrastructures. It also highlights a collective digital information system mapping for the application of Public history and the involvement of the general ‘public’ in the process of remembering the past through contribution and submission of materials as well as a reflection to several case studies regarding the collected audiovisual materials. ‘Yaman’ is a Filipino word which means a collection of precious or important things and any possession that has high value and accumulated wealth by someone. In this regard, ‘Yaman’ is being used to reflect on the importance of audiovisual materials to gather more information about the modern history of the Philippines particularly on the colonial period. The Yaman Digital History endeavors to put the Philippines in the map of country’s who are ready and capable of digitalization, visualization and developing of ‘big data’ for/of the past in order to understand the social, cultural, and geographical evolution of Philippine society through times. Audio materials such as compositions, interviews, films, and other auditory collections will be published through podcast. Visual culture such as print media, portraits, poster, and different photographs were all collected and arranged thematically and according to case studies.

YAMAN Digital History is a commitment to amplifies the value of ‘public-academic’ collaboration and to accelerate innovative tools in analyzing, producing and disseminating of historical knowledge as our way of social and political emancipation and empowerment.