detail from Labels for Hair Ribbons by Manuel Ocampo a delectable selection of oriental appetizers
Sunday, October 12, 2008


: . New Philippine Studies Articles



(Jean Baptiste Mallat de Bassilan, "Indiens Yfugaos" 1846)

New articles on the Philippines and Filipinos from British and American academic journals. The articles address a range of topics including woman's suffrage, war memorials, beauty pageants, tomboys, transnational fathering, migrant photography, and deadly typhoons. Like articles from previous years, this recent batch is more preoccupied with Filipinos who left the Philippines rather than those who stayed and with the American rather than the Spanish colonial period, with ex-, post-, and trans- still high on the list of favored prefixes.

Yea, Sallie. "Married to the Military: Filipinas Negotiating Transnational Families." International Migration, 46.4 (October 2008): 111-144.

Women migrating transnationally as “entertainers” within Asia are particularly exposed to the possibility of forming relationships in these transnational sites. This is because the nature of their work, which entails chatting and dancing with customers and various forms of sexual labour, including fondling, kissing and sometimes sex, often leads to romantic liaisons with customers in the clubs where they are deployed. This possibility is even more pronounced for women who are trafficked (that is, deceptively recruited and employed) as entertainers, as they often counter the severe vulnerabilities associated with their positions by relying on customers-cum-boyfriends for support and assistance. Marriage is one common result of these liaisons. This paper considers the multiple impacts of such marriages for foreign female entertainers on family. I focus particularly on the ways such marriages can both constrain existing family responsibilities and facilitate new ones. The paper draws on the case of Filipinas married to American soldiers in Korea as a case study for discussion. I suggest that migrant women who become involved in such marriages are often pulled between the potentially conflicting demands of old (within their home countries) and new (with their American soldier husbands) family ties and responsibilities. I also suggest that these women’s new families, whilst outwardly displaying elements of traditional gendered household roles and structures, are often characterised by long absences of the husband (to other countries or within the country of residence) and long-term patterns of transnational migration that can have a highly disruptive impact on family arrangements.


Lauser, Andrea. "Philippine Women on the Move: Marriage across Borders." International Migration, 46.4 (October 2008): 85-110.

This paper discusses how Philippine transnational marriage migration is intertwined in complex and paradoxical ways with global, local and personal matters. My argument will blur the artificial and still dominant analytical division between marriage migrants (wives or “mail order” brides) and labour migrants (workers - mainly domestic workers). Focusing on the life histories of different Filipina women, the paper illustrates the intersections and multiplicity of their roles as wives, mistresses, workers, mothers, daughters and citizens in a transnational migratory space. Furthermore, I go along with those scholars who argue that women do not only marry in order to migrate, but that they also migrate in order to marry, as marriage is seen as an important aspect of social fulfilment. By carefully investigating these emerging transnational or even global marriage-scapes, I analyze the different motives, logics and desires that come into play. While women from the Philippines may look for “modern husbands” and “modern marriages” because of local constraints on their marriage opportunities, many western men turn to Asia and the Philippines for “traditional” wives whom they imagine to be more “conservative” and “less demanding.” Both often discover that their gender stereotypes are more imagined than real. The stories illustrate how Filipina migrants use different socio-cultural and socio-economic situations across transnational space - and at times against local gender constructions - in order to renegotiate and reclaim a respectable and desired marital status. On the one hand, these women are subject to manifold localised, legal and religious-moral definitions as women and wives. On the other hand, they creatively and actively utilise structural differences and new opportunities across transnational space to redefine themselves. The stories thus show both the women's agency and the importance of structural factors.


Hawkins, Michael. "Imperial Historicism and American Military Rule in the Philippines' Muslim South." Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 39.3 (October 2008): 411-429.

When American imperialists seized the Philippines at the dawning of the twentieth century, their guiding philosophy was predicated upon broadly conceived notions of cultural and political historicism. The unwavering self-assurance required to rule over millions of unfamiliar imperial subjects derived its potency from an unquestioned panoptic view of history. This epistemological tool of imperialism found an especially unique and fascinating expression in the United States' politico-military rule over Filipino Muslims. This article explores the creation and processes of imperial taxonomy among Moro populations while accounting for a number of disturbing disruptions and anomalies in the Americans' historical narrative (such as slavery and Islamic civilisation) that threatened to unravel the tightly circumscribed concept of a uniform and interpretable progressive transitional past. It also examines the ways in which American imperialists accounted for these anomalies, and manipulated their own interpretations of the past and the present to maintain the integrity of their philosophical imperial foundations.


Reyes, Portia. "Fighting Over A Nation: Theorizing a Filipino Historiography." Postcolonial Studies: Culture, Politics, Economy, 11.3 (September 2008): 241-258.

The 1980s witnessed two important developments in Asian historiography. One was the rise of Subaltern Studies. Although in theory concerned with Indian historiography, its attack on nationalist and Marxist histories and its accessibility obtained it great prominence in European and American academies. Meanwhile, in the Philippines, an indigenization of historiography movement also grew apace, but its influence was confined to the national sphere by its choice to prioritize writing in the Filipino language. Called Pantayong Pananaw (PP/ for-us-from-us perspective), this intellectual project, whose roots date to the 1970s, proposes the reevaluation of written histories and Filipinization of historical discourse. This essay interrogates PP and its implications in the decolonization and production of historical knowledge. It analyses the idea of PP to illustrate its propositions in rethinking history and history-writing. Similar to Subaltern Studies, PP began as a critique on both colonial and left-leaning nationalist historiographies. Influential proponents of PP are identified, as its development into a school of thought in history is charted; a history of the struggles and internal contradictions of a historian's quest to provide, however problematic, a uniquely Filipino voice in the face of a growing homogenization of knowledge production in the 'global' academy. Controversies and debates color this ongoing process. PP thrives on these tensions, however. Ultimately, PP embodies an historiographical project, a political fault line and a signifant cleavage in nationalist discourse that continues to arouse heightened sentiments among Filipino scholars.


Goh, Daniel. "Postcolonial Disorientations: Colonial Ethnography and the Vectors of the Philippine Nation in the Imperial Frontier." Postcolonial Studies: Culture, Politics, Economy, 11.3 (September 2008): 259-276.

This essay argues that American colonial governmentality in the early twentieth century was constituted by an ethnographic discourse that was inflected by an imperial frontier orientation. The frontier governmentality interdicts and disciplines Filipino society and culture for colonial formation, thus planting American frontier dreams in the state's education and land policies. But it was driven by the contradictions between two types of interdiction I call the “home” and “base” vectors, which have directed the disorientation of Philippine postcoloniality, trapping it between American dreams Filipinized to the hegemony of elite nationalism. As the mestizo elites came to embody Philippine nationalism in the later years of colonialism under the framework of imperial democracy, the Filipinization of the frontier ethnographic discourse entailed an elite autoethnography of racial blending, which produced a nation with an orientation seeping into the American Southeast Asian frontier. The Philippines is thus not simply an American client state, a cacique democracy or a deferred postcolony, but the vehicle of American imperial frontierism in Southeast Asia during the Cold War. The implication is that we are seeing the accentuation of the home/base contradictions in the frontier discourse in the fragmentation of the Philippine nation today, with Filipinos running through the enlarged frontiers of America's neoliberal empire as itinerant laborers.


Salazar Parrenas, Rhacel. "Transnational Fathering: Gendered Conflicts, Distant Disciplining and Emotional Gaps." Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 34.7 (September 2008): 1057-1072.

Women's migration spurs the reconfiguration of the gender division of labour in transnational families, while the migration of men maintains it. Father-away migrant families usually mirror modern nuclear households. The only difference is the temporal and spatial rearrangement brought by the father's work: instead of the father routinely getting back home to his family during suppertime, he comes back home from work every ten months. My paper looks at the transnational families of migrant men as unexpected sites of gender conflicts in the maintenance of intimacy. Using interviews with adult children left behind in the Philippines and their guardians, I show that intimacy is more of a challenge for migrant men to achieve with family in the Philippines than it is for migrant women. Their families suffer from emotional distance, because: generations operate in 'time pockets' that are 'outside the real time of the outside world'; migrant men do not accordingly adjust their performance of fathering to accommodate the needs created by distance; and fathers insist on maintaining gender-normative views of parenting.


Santa Ana, Jeffrey. "Feeling Ancestral: The Emotions of Mixed Race and Memory in Asian American Cultural Productions." positions: east asia cultures critique, 16.2 (Fall 2008): 457-482.

In the last ten years, there has been an explosion of cultural productions about mixed-race people, and particularly of multiracial Asian Americans. Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats and Halving the Bones, Kip Fulbeck’s Paper Bullets and Part Asian, 100 Percent Hapa, Paisley Rekdal’s The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee, Kien Nguyen’s The Unwanted, Deann Borshay Liem’s First Person Plural, Brian Ascalon Roley’s American Son, and Don Lee’s Country of Origin are just some of many contemporary novels and films that feature the experiences of multiracial Asian Americans. Such productions are especially compelling in the ways they ascribe a consciousness about mixed race to their characters that articulates the harshness of human life in our modern global era. The very concept of multiraciality — in representations of interracial relations and characterizations of mixed-race people — expresses anxieties about life in the aftermath of war, colonialism, and empire. These anxieties express, in turn, a particular structure of feeling that utterly contradicts the capitalist paradise of globalization, as seen in the many images of diversity in multinational commerce. The negative affects that express the multiracial consciousness of Asian Americans, I argue, deny the global subjectivity that is reified in the stylized images of racial mixture in contemporary commercial culture.


McKay, Deirdre. "Ghosts of Futures Present: Photographs in the Filipino Migrant Archive." Visual Anthropology, 21.4 (July-September 2008): 381-392.

This article explores the role of photographs in shaping the social selves of Filipino temporary labor migrants. Examining the production of photographic self-images by Filipino migrants in Hong Kong and their reception in the Philippines, I show how people deploy photography as a technology to bring into being their desired future selves. By making present ghosts of the future, photographs of the self shape distinctive translocal subjectivities.


Linantud, John. "War Memorials and Memories: Comparing the Philippines and South Korea." International Journal of Heritage Studies, 14.4 (July 2008): 347-361.

This paper draws from international relations, comparative politics, and Asian Studies in an effort to compare war memorials and memories in the Philippines and South Korea. The analysis begins with a description of how memorials in both countries pursue a conventional narrative of glorious victories, heroic defeats, and sacred ground. The focus then shifts to counter-narratives that have challenged the USA and American General Douglas MacArthur. The comparisons reveal a desire for sovereignty in both the Philippines and South Korea, but also differences in heritage and geopolitical circumstances that shape relations with the USA. South Korea possesses an older and more warlike birthright than the Philippines and has developed a national identity increasingly separate from North Korea. Filipino memories, conversely, are steeped in Catholic spirituality.


Ribera, Pedro; García-Herrera, Ricardo; and Gimeno, Luis. "Historical Deadly Typhoons in the Philippines." Weather, 63.7 (July 2008): 194-199.

This paper analyses the typhoon chronology of the Philippines elaborated in 1935 by the Spanish Jesuit Miguel Selga (1935). The next section provides a brief account of Selga and the Jesuits meteorological activities in the Philippines. Then, the chronology is described; the sources are discussed in section 4, the paper ends with the discussion.


Nagy, Sharon. "The Search for Miss Philippines Bahrain: Possibilities for Representation in Expatriate Communities." City & Society, 20.1 (June 2008): 79-104.

Based on participant observation within the organizing committee of a beauty pageant produced by the Filipino Club in Bahrain, this paper explores group interactions within Bahrain's multinational population. More specifically, the paper asks whether semi-public events staged by expatriate community organizations serve as nodes of interaction across boundaries of nationality. The first half of the paper describes the transnational context and expatriate community organizations in Bahrain and the type of activities they host. An important distinction is made between activities hosted on the club premises and/or for club members and performance events that are potentially open to non-members. The second half of the paper uses a beauty pageant organized by the Filipino Club to examine how semi-public performance events provide a venue for both the construction of community identity and its potential presentation to other nationalities resident in Bahrain. By describing the range of activities organized by the Filipino Club—from professional networking to aromatherapy classes from Christmas parties to beauty pageants—this research expands our ideas of the nature of expatriate lives in the Gulf. The ethnographic analysis of the beauty pageant demonstrates that semi-public events may not fulfill their potential for reciprocal inter-group communication.


San Juan Jr, E. "Internationalizing the US Ethnic Canon: Revisiting Carlos Bulosan." Comparative American Studies, 6.2 (June 2008): 123-143.

The quasi-autobiographical writing of Carlos Bulosan, a migrant farmworker from the US colony of the Philippines from the 1930s to the 1950s, was discovered by ethnic activists during the US Civil Rights struggles. Once adopted as canonical texts in the US academy from the 1980s on, Bulosan's radical edge was blunted in critical readings of his work, his subversive tendencies sanitized to promote a conformist multiculturalism. We need to recover a submerged decolonizing strand in the history of Filipino deracination, sedimented in Bulosan's testimonies. This essay seeks to excavate those oppositional impulses in Bulosan's works by re-contextualizing them in the anti-colonial revolutionary movement of Filipinos dating back to the revolution of 1896; to the Filipino-American War together with the peasant insurgencies during the first three decades of US occupation (1899-1935); and in the popular-front mobilization during the US Great Depression up to the onset of the Cold War. Re-situated in their historical-biographical milieu and geopolitical provenance, Bulosan's oeuvre acquires immediacy and resonance.


Espiritu, Augusto. "Transnationalism and Filipino American Historiography." Journal of Asian American Studies, 11.2 (June 2008): 171-184.

In the last few years, Filipino American historical studies seems to have emerged, propelled by the growing influence of post-colonial, Empire, and transnational studies upon this subfield. Indeed, there has been a great deal of talk about such influences. My own personal predilections are exactly in that direction, although I am careful that the field does not lose sight of the racial, multicultural, and social conditions from which "Asian American" history emerged. Indeed, this paper shows that it is perhaps premature to ascertain the direction the field has taken and that the labels "transnational" and "post-colonial" might have been applied a little too hastily to Filipino American historical works. Indeed, it is clear from the foregoing examination that though most historians of Filipino Americans are mindful of such developments, not everyone has adopted these paradigms. Many are continuing to draw from more traditional approaches to race, gender, and class in the American context. I argue that this is not necessarily a disadvantage so long as there is an evolving dialogue, exchange, and understanding between "old" and "new" methodologies that fosters intellectual growth.


Fajardo, Kale Bantigue. "Transportation: Translating Filipino and Filipino American Tomboy Masculinities through Global Migration and Seafaring." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 14.2-3 (2008): 403-424.

Based on ethnographic fieldwork with Filipino seamen in metro Manila (Philippines), the San Francisco Bay Area (California), and the Pacific Ocean, this essay examines how heterogeneous Filipino masculinities (heterosexual and transgender tomboy) are cocreated and coexperienced in local and global sites. Through a queer, immigrant, transgender, and transnational Filipino (American) cultural logics and critique this essay foregrounds encounters with and translations of differently situated Filipino masculinities in ports and at sea, suggesting how specific embodied practices of mobility and movement—sea-based transportation, migration, and travel—are constitutive of racialized and classed Filipino masculinities.


Benedicto, Bobby. "The Haunting of Gay Manila: Global Space-Time and the Specter of Kabaklaan." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 14.2-3 (2008): 317-338.

This article aims to contribute to conceptual discussions about how postcolonial queer subjects negotiate the borders between putatively "local" queer subject formations and increasingly global sexual categories. It reexamines the tension-ridden nexus between "gay" and the Filipino bakla, arguing that the complex encounters between such formations are conditioned by emplaced class and gender hierarchies that stem from both colonial history and a neoliberal cultural context. I argue that in contrast to Filipino gay men in the diaspora who recuperate the practices of the bakla to negotiate displacement, middle- and upper-class gay men in the homeland (specifically Manila) offer an inverted picture of global-local relations, since the absence of a shared diasporic experience of displacement, (racialized) exclusion, and downward mobility also operates as the absence of any impetus to recover kabaklaan (bakla-ness) from its subordinated position within local exclusionary systems. Drawing from popular themes that thread through the virtual, physical, and print spaces that have emerged as part of Manila's post-2000 gay scene, the article foregrounds notions of complicity, particularly in terms of how the "newness" of the gay scene is made visible through the violent rewriting of kabaklaan as a temporal anomaly. Affective understandings of global space-time, underpinned by dreams of mobility and imaginative planetary geographies, are here depicted as unstable introjected trajectories haunted by the spectral presence of kabaklaan in the "now" of gay Manila and by the need to continuously exorcise such apparitions.


San Juan, E. "Carlos Bulosan, Filipino Writer-Activist: Between a Time of Terror and the Time of Revolution." CR: The New Centennial Review, 8.1 (Spring 2008): 103-134.

On and after September 11, 2001, Carlos Bulosan, like thousands of Filipinos, felt the impact of that disaster. Not because he was caught in the Twin Towers or in the mountains of Afghanistan and the cities of Iraq. Nor was he in Basilan or Zamboanga when thousands of U.S. Special Forces landed in 2002 allegedly in pursuit of the Abu Sayyaf, welcomed by the sycophantic Arroyo regime. Bulosan died on September 11, 1956, 48 years ago; he was beyond the reach of imperial terror (San Juan 1994). But even the dead are not safe from the enemy—witness how Jose Rizal, the national hero, was co-opted by the American colonizers to suppress the underground resistance after Aguinaldo’s surrender (Constantino 1978). Witness how the figure of Andres Bonifacio has been attacked by American scholars eager to debunk the prestige of the hero and prove how leading Filipino historians have failed, like the comprador and bureaucratic elite, to measure up to Western neo-liberal standards (San Juan 2000a). In an analogous manner, Bulosan has also been co-opted and taken for granted. Since the 1960s, when Filipinos struggling for civil rights and against the Vietnam War discovered Bulosan, the author of America Is in the Heart (1946) has become institutionalized as a harmless ethnic icon (Guillermo 2002). Notwithstanding this, I have met Filipino college students today who have no idea who Bulosan is, and don’t care. Obviously times have changed; indeed, circumstances, not ideas, largely determine attitudes, choices, and inclinations. The current war on what Washington and the Pentagon regard as the foes of democracy and freedom, just like the fight against Japanese militarism in World War II that compelled Filipino migrant workers to join the U.S. military, is already repeating that call for unity with the neo-colonial masters to suspend antagonism, rendering Bulosan’s cry for equality and justice superfluous. How do we avoid siding with, and serving, our oppressors?


Antoinette, Michelle. "Intimate Pasts Resurrected and Released: Sex, Death, and Faith in the Art of José Legaspi." Biography, 31.1 (Winter 2008): 133-160.

José Legaspi is one of the few openly gay visual artists in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic society that generally still has much difficulty accepting the idea and practice of homosexuality. Often autobiographical in nature, Legaspi's contemporary art installations, sculptures, and drawings bring together image, text, and materiality to bear witness to dark personal life-narratives relating to his homosexuality and Catholicism in the Philippines. His "auto-graphic" reflections record explicit depictions of his own sexuality, sardonic critiques of religious repression, and anguished and often violent reflections on the life and death of those most dear and hateful to his heart.


Sneider, Allison L. "Suffragists in an Imperial Age." Getting Suffrage in an Age of Empire (February 2008): 117-135.

During the 1910s suffragists followed closely the congressional debates over political independence for men in the Philippines and Puerto Rico and were intent on juxtaposing national legislation that expanded political autonomy for men in these U.S. island possessions against Congress's failure to pass a woman suffrage amendment to the U.S. constitution. By 1916 it seemed, ironically, that the U.S. colonial possessions might be the next site for womansuffrage victories. The revival of the push for the federal woman suffrage amendment, the Nineteenth Amendment (1920), took place in the context of U.S. efforts to resolve the political status of Puerto Rico and the Philippines.


Hutchison, Jane. "The 'Disallowed' Political Participation of Manila's Urban Poor." Democratization, 14.5 (December 2007): 853-872.

In the Philippines, re-democratization has seen the emergence of new modes of political participation for extra-parliamentary oppositions that are variously aligned with the poor. These involve collective representation within the state and multilateral organizations, or societal incorporation. Among extra-parliamentary oppositions, the urban poor, as a political movement of squatters, has experienced societal incorporation through new laws and programmes that enable access to formal land tenure through market inclusion. In this way, their political participation is limited to proximate representation by non-governmental organisations in the implementation of programmes and projects. But the urban poor are also known for their 'disallowed' participation as voters in electoral contests. The disappointing outcomes from societal incorporation have forced the urban poor to persist with this civil society expression of their activism. This article explains the class logic to the urban poor's 'disallowed' political participation under prevailing neo-liberal conditions.

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