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Beyond the Nation

Beyond the Nation: Diasporic Filipino Literature and Queer Reading

Martin Joseph Ponce
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 298
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  • Book Info
    Beyond the Nation
    Book Description:

    Beyond the Nation charts an expansive history of Filipino literature in the U.S., forged within the dual contexts of imperialism and migration, from the early twentieth century into the twenty-first. Martin Joseph Ponce theorizes and enacts a queer diasporic reading practice that attends to the complex crossings of race and nation with gender and sexuality. Tracing the conditions of possibility of Anglophone Filipino literature to U.S. colonialism in the Philippines in the early twentieth century, the book examines how a host of writers from across the century both imagine and address the Philippines and the United States, inventing a variety of artistic lineages and social formations in the process. Beyond the Nation considers a broad array of issues, from early Philippine nationalism, queer modernism, and transnational radicalism, to music-influenced and cross-cultural poetics, gay male engagements with martial law and popular culture, second-generational dynamics, and the relation between reading and revolution. Ponce elucidates not only the internal differences that mark this literary tradition but also the wealth of expressive practices that exceed the terms of colonial complicity, defiant nationalism, or conciliatory assimilation. Moving beyond the nation as both the primary analytical framework and locus of belonging, Ponce proposes that diasporic Filipino literature has much to teach us about alternative ways of imagining erotic relationships and political communities.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-6866-2
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-28)

    FROM THE VANTAGE point of the second millennium, the 1990s may be regarded as a period of unprecedented cultural and scholarly ferment by Filipinos in the United States. Ushered in by the publication of Jessica Hagedorn’s National Book Award–nominated novelDogeaters(1990), the decade came to a close with numerous critical and collaborative publications and events commemorating the centennial celebrations of Philippine independence from Spain in 1898. The years between saw a steady outpouring of literary production, and this “literary renaissance”¹ continues to thrive in the first decade of the twenty-first century, with a host of established and new...

  4. 1 The Romantic Didactics of Maximo Kalaw’s Nationalism
    (pp. 29-57)

    IN THE INTRODUCTION to the 1964 reissue of Maximo M. Kalaw’sThe Filipino Rebel, Pio Pedrosa wonders why the author “turned to this literary form [the novel] as the vehicle for the message he sought to convey instead of using the essay or the treatise as was his wont.”¹ Prior to publishing his only novel around 1930,² Kalaw (1891–1955) had established himself as a staunch advocate of Philippine independence by writing several books on “the Philippine question,” includingThe Case for the Filipinos(1916),Self-Government in the Philippines(1919), andThe Development of Philippine Politics, 1872–1920(1926), as...

  5. 2 The Queer Erotics of José Garcia Villa’s Modernism
    (pp. 58-88)

    ANGLOPHONE FILIPINO MODERNISM begins with a scandal. In the spring of 1929, a series of poems called “Man-Songs” appeared in thePhilippines Herald Magazineunder the name O. Sevilla. The pseudonym apparently did little to screen the poet’s identity since, shortly after the third installment, José Garcia Villa was brought to court and fined 50 pesos for allegedly “polluting public morals.”¹ Dean Jorge Bocobo of the University of the Philippines followed suit, deemed the poems “indecent and obscene,” and suspended Villa, a sophomore in the College of Law, for a year.² In the midst of a subscription in the college...

  6. 3 The Sexual Politics of Carlos Bulosan’s Radicalism
    (pp. 89-119)

    AT AROUND THE time that José Garcia Villa published his last major poem “The Anchored Angel,” his compatriot Carlos Bulosan was engaged in writing an equally ambitious work. Composed during the early 1950s and posthumously published asThe Cry and the Dedicationin 1995, nearly forty years after the author’s death in 1956, Bulosan’s novel could not be more dissimilar from Villa’s poem.¹ Whereas “The Anchored Angel” weaves idiosyncratic metaphors and distressed images into a dense web of religious and erotic evocations,The Cry and the Dedicationis an expansive narrative rooted in social history and organized into a form...

  7. 4 The Cross-Cultural Musics of Jessica Hagedorn’s Postmodernism
    (pp. 120-152)

    IN HER “PARTLY AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL” second novelThe Gangster of Love,¹ Jessica Hagedorn “honor[s] the memory of [her] ‘real-life’ band,”² The Gangster Choir, which she founded in 1975 and for which she served as singer and lyricist until the group disbanded in 1984. Part immigrant bildungsroman, partkünstlerroman, The Gangster of Lovereads analogously to José Garcia Villa’s autobiographical stories and critical essays as well as Carlos Bulosan’sAmerica Is in the Heartand autobiographical essays—as a portrait of the artist that describes migration from Manila to San Francisco and later New York City as coterminous with the author’s alter...

  8. 5 The Diasporic Poetics of Queer Martial Law Literature
    (pp. 153-183)

    WITH ITS ABUNDANCE of sexually nonnormative characters, Jessica Hagedorn’s corpus presages and participates in the proliferation of queer diasporic Filipino cultural production over the past two decades. Far from marginal, the sheer wealth of this work—novels, poetry, stories, essays, drama, performance art, visual art, documentaries, and independent feature films—implies that it is part and parcel of contemporary diasporic Filipino expressive culture.¹ To be sure, these texts take up issues of homophobia in Filipino culture, racism in U.S. queer culture, and racism and homophobia in dominant U.S. culture, the main targets of critique often identified in queer of color...

  9. 6 The Transpacific Tactics of Contemporary Filipino American Literature
    (pp. 184-220)

    IN HER RECENT novelOne Tribe(2006), M. Evelina Galang expands on the remapping of Filipinos in the United States begun in her earlier collection of short storiesHer Wild American Self(1996). Bringing us forward from the period of Philippine martial law and U.S. popular culture evoked in the work of Jessica Hagedorn, Bino Realuyo, R. Zamora Linmark, and Noël Alumit, Galang’s novel focuses on a Filipino American community in Virginia in the 1990s. The protagonist, Isabel Manalo, moves from a Chicago suburb to Virginia Beach to accept a position at a public school that enrolls a significant population...

  10. Epilogue
    (pp. 221-232)

    NARRATIVE ENDINGS ABOUT the subordinated and the subjugated are notoriously difficult to achieve. To the extent that the text, from its present vantage point, represents the oppressive conditions by which the represented come to be oppressed, it necessarily registers theongoingnature of hierarchy and stratification. Since this unhappy state of affairs constitutes the preconditions of the text’s critical impulse, easily discernible resolutions of assimilationism, withdrawal, or radical transformation can read as abject, evasive, impossibly contrived, or otherwise dissatisfying—hence, why so many endings are, for lack of a more forceful word, ambiguous.

    The literature explored in this book reveals...

  11. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 233-236)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 237-278)
  13. Index
    (pp. 279-288)
  14. About the Author
    (pp. 289-289)