The genesis of partisan scholarship: Renato Constantino as a public intellectual and nationalist historian, 1950s–1980s

  • Francisco Jayme Paolo A. Guiang University of the Philippines


Renato Constantino was a historian and a public intellectual whose ideas were often considered as thought-provoking and controversial. Regarded as one of the pioneers in nationalist historiography, he produced a popular yet contentious historical interpretation that was unmistakably Marxist in nature. As a nationalist thinker, Constantino argued that the people’s nationalist aspirations can be achieved by introducing them to a partisan form of scholarship. This paper critically examines his idea of partisan scholarship by proving that it was a necessary undertaking that inevitably undermined traditional historical practice and exposed the public to social criticisms and ideological discourse. To understand his intellectual labors, this research contextualizes Constantino during the crucial decades of the 1950s to the 1980s. By looking at his published works within these years, this paper aims to show the conjugal role of his social commentaries and historical expositions in provoking nationalism among readers. Moreover, this research explores the ideological dimension of partisan scholarship. Thus, a more holistic understanding of partisan scholarship could be elicited by interrogating his social commentaries and historical expositions in conjunction with the ideological paradigm apparent in his writings. Finally, this paper examines the impact of Constantino’s partisan scholarship by determining major criticisms about his ideas and then identifying the place of his intellectual contributions within the nationalist and, arguably, postcolonial traditions.



partisan scholarship; nationalism; Marxism; people’s history; public intellectual