Tiongson receives 2015 Grant Goodman Prize in Historical Studies

Seton Hall University (SHU) in New Jersey has honored Dr. Nicanor Tiongson with the 2015 Grant Goodman Prize in Historical Studies. The scholar, writer, and playwright was recognized by Philippine Studies Group of the SHU Association of Asian Studies-Southeast Asia Council in March this year.

The Goodman Prize is a lifetime achievement award is given every two or more years to scholars who have made outstanding contributions to Philippine historical studies. It is named after Grant Goodman (1925-2014), Professor Emeritus of the Department of History, University of Kansas.

Tiongson is a Professor Emeritus of the University of the Philippines-Diliman’s College of Mass Communication, and also teaches part-time with the Ateneo de Manila University’s Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. He received the Gawad Tanglaw ng Lahi from the Ateneo in 2009, and was commencement speaker at the 2012 graduation ceremonies for the Ateneo’s School of Humanities and School of Science and Engineering.

Tiongson’s citation, penned by Dr. Resil Mojares on behalf of the awards committee, reads as follows:

The Philippine Studies Group of the Association for Asian Studies is pleased to award the 2015 Grant Goodman Prize to NICANOR G. TIONGSON for his substantial contributions to Philippine historical studies.

For more than four decades, Tiongson has had an extremely versatile and productive career that has made him a leader in Philippine historical and critical studies in the field of popular culture. His career as scholar and writer began in the late 1960s when a “Philippine Studies movement” in the Philippines emerged as a response to the then widely-felt need to ground scholarship in what is distrinctive in the Philippine historical experience, and to propagate the knowledge gained among Filipinos themselves. This aim has guided Tiongson’s work as a scholar of theater and film, playwright on historical subjects, and cultural leader.

History has been foundational in his work, starting with his histories of Philippine theater forms, Kasaysayan at Esteteika ng Ibang Dulang Panrelihiyon (1975) and Kasaysayan ng Komedya sa Pilipinas (1983), and branching out to such works of cultural history as The Women of Malolos (2004) and The Cinema of Manuel Conde (2008). Recognizing that building an archive of local knowledge is vital for history, he initiated, managed, and contributed his own writings to such projects as the 10-volume CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art (1994); Tuklas Sining (1989-1994), a series of 30 videos and monographs on the history and aesthetics of Philippine art; and the four-volume Urian Anthology (1983-2013) – works that are a major resource for students of theater, cinema, and the arts.

He has exercised wide influence in the cultural field. As vice-president and artistic director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (1986-1994), he played a leading role in decentralizing and democratizing the center’s programs in the post-Marcos transition. As an independent scholar, artist, and academic at the University of the Philippines (where he served as Dean of the UP College of Mass Communications in 2003-2006), he has done significant work with groups involved in theater production, film criticism, and the promotion of independent Filipino films, and mass media education.

In his multifaceted career, Tiongson has always been committed to the vision of a dynamic and empowering Filipino identity that derives its strength and character from the country’s history and culture.

The Philippine Studies Group is pleased to acknowledge his scholarship and leadership by conferring on him the 2015 Grant Goodman Prize in Philippine history.


Read Dr. Tiongson’s acceptance speech.