This essay investigates the intersections of American empire and American feminism via literature by Filipinas in Spanish. Texts written in Manila by hispanophone Filipinas who were also American subjects and American nationals present a defamiliarizing phenomenon that casts anew standard historical-literary accounts of the 20th century United States. The literary output of Maria Paz Zamora, for instance, reveals an America that emerges on shores not commonly taken to be American at all and yet are more indicative, arguably, of the modern United States than any other. Paz Zamora was the first Asian woman to produce a short story collection in Spanish (Mi obolo, 1924), the co-author of a bilingual cookbook (Everyday Cookery for the Home, 1930 and 1934), and the only Filipina known to have published a World War II memoir in Spanish. Like all Filipinos during the American colonization of the archipelago, however, Paz Zamora was also an American subject designated by the United States as an American national. This essay analyzes her oeuvre within the contexts of early Filipina literature in general and within the gender politics of the Spanish-language press in Manila of her day, but argues ultimately that a principal reason for studying her is to seek a globalized revision of what has been, ever since 1898, a globalized America.


El Debate, Guillermo Gómez Windham, José Rizal, Maria Paz Zamora Mascuñana, Pedro Paterno, Sofia Reyes de Veyra

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

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Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
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University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
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Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
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Peter Horn
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University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
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University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
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University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
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Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
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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)

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