Landlessness, War, and Displacement in Literatures of Mindanao and Sulu

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/

Abstract

This monograph attempts to clarify the relationships of Filipino Americans to the diaspora of Christian settler colonists in Mindanao with the hope of facilitating solidarity between Filipino Americans and the peoples of Mindanao and Sulu. It begins with a consideration of Carlos Bulosan, perhaps the most prominent figure within the discipline of Filipino American Studies, in terms of the brief appearance of Mindanao in America is in the Heart. The bulk of the monograph, however, is centered on literatures of the Southern Philippines, a region that is often overlooked within the discipline of Filipino American Studies, and in particular it examines the historical evolution of landlessness, displacement, and war in the Southern Philippines through the close reading of texts produced there. The first text is “Blue Blood of the Big Astana,” a story from the Commonwealth period of US-Philippine history, written by Ibrahim Jubaira, the mostrecognized Muslim writer in English from the Philippines. Jubaira’s story is notable for its depiction of the persistence of ideas concerning land tenure, status, and kinship from a time just prior to US colonial rule within a context determined by the increasing inroads of merchant capitalism fostered by the US colonial state. However, Jubaira’s story is very partial when contextualized in terms of debates concerning the fate of Mindanao and Sulu during the years preceding the formal independence of the Philippines. The monograph then moves to the near-present to consider a story by the Maranao writer Loren Hallilah I. Lao, “The Trip to a Forbidden Land,” as a plea for peace that is constrained by the middle-class setting of the story. Finally, the emphasis shifts to a set of oral histories collected in the volume Land Tenure Stories in Central Mindanao. The shift to this set of texts corrects an urban and middle-class bias in the stories of Jubaira and Lao that would prevent Filipino American readers from understanding the concerns of Muslims and indigenous peoples and the causes of conflicts in the Southern Philippines. The stories of a specific conflict over land told by Muslims and Manobos in Land Tenure Stories highlight the importance of land as a necessary part of the livelihoods of many of the indigenous, Muslim, and Christian people of Mindanao and the ways in which landlessness and the lack of livelihoods are causes of conflicts in the Southern Philippines. 


Keywords

Filipino American Literature, Filipino diaspora, internally displaced persons, landlessness, Muslim Filipino Literature, Philippine Literature in English

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

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

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

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faruk
Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)