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"Offering elegantly written, provocatively framed, and meticulously analyzed historical and cultural accounts of Filipino modern feminine formations between the early twentieth century and the years immediately after the Second World War, Denise Cruz fills a gap in the scholarly literature by boldly asserting the primacy of transnational connections."—Martin F. Manalansan IV, author of Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora
Transpacific Femininities is really quite extraordinary. By sustained critical attention on the figure of the transpacific Filipina, Denise Cruz tells a story that not only returns deep and irreducible complexity to the women and women writers whose lives and work create a network of affiliations and intimacies across the Pacific, but that also shows us how vital gender was and is to apprehending the incredibly complicated interrelations among the histories, cultures, and politics of the Philippines, the United States, and Japan. Where many are apt to declare the significance of empire, race, nation, and gender, Cruz *shows* their linked importance. Amazingly, she does so by taking her readers through as varied grounds as the emergence of English-language literary cultures in the Philippines, to the shifting deployments and meanings of femininity across the writings of authors who are sometimes conservative, sometimes transgressive, and always illuminating, without confining the Filipina to a singular narrative. We learn a great deal about the circuits of signification, desire, and empire that constitute twentieth century histories of the Pacific."—Kandice Chuh, author of Imagine Otherwise: On Asian Americanist Critique
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In this groundbreaking study, Denise Cruz investigates the importance of the figure she terms the "transpacific Filipina" to Philippine nationalism, women's suffrage, and constructions of modernity. Her analysis illuminates connections between the rise in the number of Philippine works produced in English and the emergence of new social classes of transpacific women during the early to mid-twentieth century.
Through a careful study of multiple texts produced by Filipina and Filipino writers in the Philippines and the United States—including novels and short stories, newspaper and magazine articles, conduct manuals, and editorial cartoons—Cruz provides a new archive and fresh perspectives for understanding Philippine literature and culture. She demonstrates that the modern Filipina did not emerge as a simple byproduct of American and Spanish colonial regimes, but rather was the result of political, economic, and cultural interactions among the Philippines, Spain, the United States, and Japan. Cruz shows how the complex interplay of feminism, nationalism, empire, and modernity helped to shape, and were shaped by, conceptions of the transpacific Filipina.