Presentation Title

Filipino American Literature: Underrepresentation and the Dangers of Forgetting

Faculty Mentor

Joan Wines

Start Date

18-11-2017 11:00 AM

End Date

18-11-2017 11:15 AM

Location

15-1802

Session

Interdisciplinary 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

Over the past few decades, literary studies in America have moved past their historical emphasis on classic American and British literature to include the work of contemporary American authors who have more diverse ethnic backgrounds. Though African and Latin-American writers now have a place in American literary studies, I find a deficiency of Asian-American authors, most strikingly, a lack of Filipino-American representation in our literary world; in fact, it is nearly non-existent. With a history of constant national occupation and colonization, the Philippines has consistently experienced a weakened sense of cultural identity. A strong American presence in the Philippines managed to convince native Filipinos to idolize American cultural values. The media—including film, music, and literature—reinforces this phenomenon. As a result, the Filipino community is suffering a major cultural loss. The doomed fate for Filipinos and the loss of their own cultural identity is put in even more danger when Filipinos migrate into the cultural chaos of the U.S. After examining the common underlying themes of invisibility and imprisonment in Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters, in Lysley Tenorio’s Monstress, and in various poems in the anthology Returning A Borrowed Tongue, I conclude that we need a stronger Filipino literary presence in order to preserve Filipino culture and make it more accessible--not only for the purpose of recalling and re-forging Filipino identity, but also to expose that identity to non-Filipinos, so they can better understand the experiences of Filipinos and Filipino Americans.

Summary of research results to be presented

I will be presenting my findings from my research into the history of the Philippines, and the Philippine-United States relationship, the Filipino post-colonial attitude, and my textual analysis of Dogeaters, by Jessica Hagedorn, Lysley Tenorio's Monstress, and various poems from Returning A Borrowed Tongue, an anthology of poetry by Filipino and Filipino American authors. These findings include transtextual themes of invisibility and imprisonment, which relate to the post-colonial experience of Filipinos and Filipino Americans. In response to these themes, I will argue that giving the Filipino community a louder voice in the literary world will help solidify the Filipino cultural identity and expose others to the Filipino/Filipino American experience. As a result, more representation in the literary world will help to ameliorate the invisibility and imprisonment that the Filipino community has experienced thus far.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Nov 18th, 11:00 AM Nov 18th, 11:15 AM

Filipino American Literature: Underrepresentation and the Dangers of Forgetting

15-1802

Over the past few decades, literary studies in America have moved past their historical emphasis on classic American and British literature to include the work of contemporary American authors who have more diverse ethnic backgrounds. Though African and Latin-American writers now have a place in American literary studies, I find a deficiency of Asian-American authors, most strikingly, a lack of Filipino-American representation in our literary world; in fact, it is nearly non-existent. With a history of constant national occupation and colonization, the Philippines has consistently experienced a weakened sense of cultural identity. A strong American presence in the Philippines managed to convince native Filipinos to idolize American cultural values. The media—including film, music, and literature—reinforces this phenomenon. As a result, the Filipino community is suffering a major cultural loss. The doomed fate for Filipinos and the loss of their own cultural identity is put in even more danger when Filipinos migrate into the cultural chaos of the U.S. After examining the common underlying themes of invisibility and imprisonment in Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters, in Lysley Tenorio’s Monstress, and in various poems in the anthology Returning A Borrowed Tongue, I conclude that we need a stronger Filipino literary presence in order to preserve Filipino culture and make it more accessible--not only for the purpose of recalling and re-forging Filipino identity, but also to expose that identity to non-Filipinos, so they can better understand the experiences of Filipinos and Filipino Americans.