Fredric Jameson argues that the passage from monopoly to late capitalism or globalization has resulted in a “bewildering new world space” marked by a “weakening of historicity,” if not the outright “suppression of history.” As a result, this dizzying, dehistoricized totality has become unrepresentable. If this foreclosure is premised on the capture of social life by the “interpenetration of government and big business” under late capitalism, this paper argues that the forest, as a historically and narratively illegible space, may offer an escape. Drawing on a Marxist tradition of ecocriticism, in particular Robert Spencer’s work on “forest literature,” and notions of haunting and spectrality, this paper investigates how the forest in Alvin Yapan’s Sandali ng mga Mata can “illuminate capitalism’s world-destroying power” and see through the simultaneous transparencies, opacities, and distortions of late capitalism. In the context of the country’s deepening entanglement with globalization and profound vulnerabilities to the climate emergency, the idea of the forest as a way of seeing hopefully contributes to such an urgent political task.


forest, Marxist ecocriticism, Philippine literature, spatio-poetics, spectrality

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

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Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
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Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
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Yale University (US)

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Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

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University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
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Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
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University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
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University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

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University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
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Yale NUS College (Singapore)

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Department of Political Science
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Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
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Barnard College (US)
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Columbia University (US)

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Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)