Philippine Literature as World Literature (ACLA 2011, Vancouver, BC, 3/31/11 - 4/3/11)

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Will Arighi and Marites Mendoza
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"Be an international writer, who happens to be Filipino, and learn to live with the criticisms of being a Twinkie. Anyway, your real home country will be that common ground your work plows between you and your reader. Truly, who wants to read about the angst of a remote tropical nation? Everyone’s got enough of their own, thank you very much."

As this quotation from Miguel Syjuco’s novel Ilustrado (2010) suggests, the position of the post-colonial Philippine writer hovers ambivalently between global and local concerns. The character who utters this pronouncement, Crispin Salvador, offers the alternative of another "country" as the "common ground" between writer and reader, but many writers still feel their national origins as integral factors in both the field of possibility for their writing and choice of subject matter. While providing a prescription for accessing a "global" concept of literature from a "local" position, this quotation also suggests the dangers for the post-colonial writer: becoming a "Twinkie," or losing one’s "authenticity."

This panel seeks to continue the dialogue prompted by Syjuco. What are the implications of the material, historical conditions of global movements to, from, and through the Philippines, for conceptualizing terms like "post-colonial" or "world literature" or even "Philippine literature"? How does adaptation of the foreign figure into particular literary histories, such as in the Philippines? Finally, what is this "common ground" between the writer and reader and how might we imagine this as a way out of the polarized language of "Twinkiedom"?

Papers may be submitted through the ACLA conference website, where other details on participation may also be found:

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