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The Manong's "Songs of Love": Gendered and Sexualized Dimensions of Carlos Bulosan's Literature and Labor Activism

Amanda Solomon Amorao


This article takes the 2013 passage of California Assembly Bill 123, which mandatesinstruction on the Filipino contribution to the state’s farm workers movementin public education curriculum, as an occasion to analyze the gendered andsexualized dimensions of Carlos Bulosan’s literature and labor activism. The articleconsiders the texts and contexts of America is in the Heart and Bulosan’s shortstory “As Long as the Grass Shall Grow” to demonstrate how Bulosan’s materialist,dialectical analysis also involves an incisive critique of the intersections of class,race, gender, and sexuality. As Bulosan narrates the proletariat struggles of themanong generation, he reveals how the Filipino immigrant’s status as racializedlabor is also gendered and sexualized therefore necessitating that one’s laboractivism be defined by an anti-patriarchal and anti-heteronormative stance. In thisway, Bulosan presents us with a potentially expansive model of Filipino politicalconsciousness, a model that is not restricted to a masculine revolutionary practicecharacterized by a laboring brotherhood. Furthermore, it is a revolutionary practicethat by its very nature resists a toothless multicultural inclusion in state andnational history and highlights the racialized, gendered, and sexualized violenceof both US neocolonialism and domestic racism. Ultimately, this article insists thatBulosan calls for an intersectional liberatory praxis that is both anticolonial andanti-capitalist.


anti-heteronormative; anti-patriarchal; America is in the Heart; Carlos Bulosan; CA Assembly Bill 123; gender; manong generation; sexuality

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/1892