Queer Bodies and Subaltern Spectators

Viet Thanh Nguyen

in Race and Resistance

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195146998
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199787890 | DOI:
 Queer Bodies and Subaltern Spectators

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This chapter considers two novels by the Filipino American authors Jessica Hagedorn and Ninotchka Rosca. Hagedorn's Dogeaters and Rosca's State of War focus upon anti-dictatorial revolutions in the Philippines, placing transvestites and homosexuals in central roles. The queer body arises in the work of these writers because it allows them to address two related historical situations: the relationship of the Philippines to the United States, and the relationship of the dominated to the dominating in the Philippines. In these situations, the queer subject's status as social outsider becomes metaphorical for the Philippines as the forgotten nation in American memory, and metaphorical for the dominated within the Philippines itself. These novels, by putting the queer body at the center of the anti-dictatorial movement, transform that movement into a sexual revolution that displaces the importance of heterosexual identity and marriage found in many constructions of nationalist revolution.

Keywords: Filipino American; Jessica Hagedorn; homosexual; novel; Philippines; queer; revolution; Ninotchka Rosca; sexual; transvestite

Chapter.  8555 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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