Political Narratives in Colonial Amnesia: Filipino/American Landscapes (BLOG DISCUSSION)

NOV. 18, 2012 | 3 – Political Narratives in Colonial Amnesia: Filipino/American Landscapes

Speaker: Rashaan Alexis Menesesblog comments due on Saturday, Nov. 17


For those who haven’t responded to the previous blog post, please do so ASAP! Link is here. As an added incentive, I’ll add my cooking recipes in exchange for your comments!


M. Evelina Galang’s “The Guerras Sisters Who Never Talk” (Kartika Review interview and Comfort Women blog article)

Lysley Tenorio’s “Save the I-Hotel” (and accompanying Larry Itliong NYT article)

Lysley Tenorio’s “The Brothers”

Rashaan Alexis Meneses’s “Here in the States”


First impressions? What emotive responses did these poems relay to you? Further thoughts to think about:

1. How does space and place evoke disparity and emotion in these pieces?
2. How do these pieces go beyond identity politics? What do they say about life in America for Filipinos/Filipino Americans?
3. How is amnesia/erasure threaded throughout these pieces? How does memory affect place?
4. Lastly, how do the articles inform these pieces? How do these authors contextualize history with landscapes (specifically Lysley and Evelina)? How does Rashaan comment on place?


Also, Lysley Tenorio is having a Q&A panel session with Rashaan Alexis Meneses on Nov. 28th (5:30pm) at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco! Don’t miss this amazing PAWA event. Click here for more details.




2 responses to “Political Narratives in Colonial Amnesia: Filipino/American Landscapes (BLOG DISCUSSION)

  1. I would like to explore the issue of confinement, specifically as it threads through the stories. In “The Guerras Sisters…”, Galang creates a sense of confinement– not only within the physical parameters of the sisters’ home, but also through the sisters’ inability to communicate war-related trauma. This is likewise projected in Meneses’ work. Though the protagonist travels through the looming city of Los Angeles, again, there is a feeling of limited space. The mother-daughter interaction is stinted by conflict that both must internally and externally experience in the US. “Save the I-Hotel” introduces a similar concept, wherein refuge and community are limited and threatened. The stories do not rest on identity politicking: issues of colonization, migration, and labor are far more pronounced. While one can certainly read for identity issues, the protagonists are not clawing for essentialized conceptions of the Filipino since other material issues are at the fore.

  2. What happens when a door opens and closes? What memories lie between what is ajar? I’m thinking about silence and the ways in which elephants in a room never seem to die, much like the way shame can travel across an ocean. I’m thinking of the ways in which, “[I too] am not woman enough for them…blurred out from head to toe”. What makes a woman? A good one, a woman whom the baker will let squeeze the bread? After reading these works Galang and Tonorio I think about all the things that lose translation and relevance from one site to the next: “you don’t do this here…you keep it to yourself.” But, the real question: why?

    ~Mg Roberts

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