Reading Carlos Bulosan/Documenting the Filipino Diaspora

Jeffrey Arellano Cabusao

Abstract

This editorial introduction to Writer in Exile/Writer in Revolt: Critical Perspectives on Carlos Bulosan (2016) sheds light on the diasporic scope of Bulosan’s literary imagination and the literary scholarship on his diverse body of writing. Writer in Exile/Writer in Revolt gathers for the first time nearly sixty years of literary criticism by scholars in the United States and the Philippines on Bulosan, a pioneering twentieth-century Filipino writer in the United States. The editorial introduction highlights the ways in which Writer in Exile/Writer in Revolt documents the unfolding of Bulosan’s radical literary imagination which straddles the colonial and neocolonial periods of U.S.-Philippines relations (from the pre-Pacific War period to the Cold War period). Six decades of literary criticism generate a fascinating inventory of Bulosan’s invaluable contributions to modern diasporic Filipino literature that, when historicized, problematize the notion of hybridity and trouble the binary opposition between Asian and Asian American literatures. In addition to discussing the significance of Writer in Exile/Writer in Revolt, the editorial introduction features Cabusao’s dialogue piece (featured in the anthology) with distinguished Asian American scholars Marilyn Alquizola and Lane Ryo Hirabayashi on their groundbreaking research on Bulosan’s FBI files which reveals the transnational nature of U.S. political surveillance/repression and the diasporic framing of Filipino resistance that informed Carlos Bulosan’s life and work


Keywords

Bulosan criticism; Carlos Bulosan; Cold War political repression; Filipino activism; Filipino diaspora; Filipino literary aesthetics

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/2830