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Migrant Identities of «Creole Cosmopolitans»

Transcultural Narratives of Contemporary Postcoloniality


Edited By Nirmala Menon and Marika Preziuso

One defining question links the essays of this collection: How do aesthetic and stylistic choices perform the condition of dislocation of the migrant and, in doing so, also put pressure on the seemingly global promise of cosmopolitanism? Migrant Identities of «Creole Cosmopolitans»: Transcultural Narratives of Contemporary Postcoloniality offers a wide array of narratives that complicate the rhetoric of cosmopolitanism and the related discourses of «hybridity». Many such narratives are under-theorized migrations, such as Dalit narratives from India and inter-island migrations in the Caribbean. Collectively, the essays suggest that there are ways in which the forms of the migrant aesthetics, language, and imaginaries may offer new insights in the interactions between practices and discourses of hybridity and cosmopolitanism by examining their precise points of intersection and divergence. This inquiry is especially timely because it raises questions about the circulation, marketing, and consumption of narratives of migration, dislocation, and «diaspora.»
In addition, the collection addresses in at least two significant ways the question about «beyond postcolonialism» and the future of the discipline. First, by questioning and critically examining some foundational theories in postcolonialism, it points to possible new directions in our theoretical vocabulary. Second, it offers an array of reflections around disparate geographies that are, equally importantly, written in different languages. The value that the authors place on languages other than English and their choice to focus on the effect that multiple languages have on the present of postcolonial studies are in line with one of the aims of the collection – to make the case for a multilingual expansion of the postcolonial imaginary as a necessary imperative.
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Chapter 7. Long-Distance Nationalism: The Filipino Ilustrados Abroad


The Filipino Ilustrados Abroad


Miguel Syjuco’s Ilustrado was awarded the 2008 Man Asian Prize while it was still a manuscript, but quickly since its 2010 publication (by Farrar, Straus and Giroux), the novel has garnered international acclaim as a postmodern tour de force and an inventive exploration of what it means to be a Filipino, in the diaspora, today. A key to understanding the ordered chaos of its narrative, or to reinscribe it in more legible terms, would be to foreground the similarities of Syjuco’s narrator-protagonists to their explicitly identified forebears: namely, the nineteenth-century Filipino ilustrados, the “enlightened” expatriates who carried out their studies, cultural activities, and reformist projects at a distance from the Philippines, in Spain and France (Cullinane 19). These ilustrados are both precursors and paragons for Crispin Salvador, and he is one of the dual protagonists at the center of the novel’s play of mirrors, stories about stories, fictions and non-fictions. As we read Crispin’s story, we find out, eventually, that “in truth” all along it was the story of biographer and “character” Miguel Syjuco, but told through the lens of Crispin’s “autoplagiarist” mode of self-ironizing. Chapter 2 of the novel extends a bridge to the ilustrado past, with which Crispin’s and Miguel’s stories will form a sort of transhistorical counterpoint. Their intellectual precursors of the last three decades of the nineteenth century developed their thoughts in Europe: taking on ← 95 | 96 → a critical stance with regard to their own class...

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