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What Emerges From a “Ruined World”: The Dueling Philippine Humanisms of Nick Joaquin


For canonical Philippine writer Nick Joaquin, the American occupation has rendered insurrectionary action unfeasible. Thus, Joaquin is often read as lionizing the Spanish period in comparison. However, I challenge such readings to argue that Joaquin’s engagement with the Spanish past reflects a search for the conditions of possibility for revolution. This search, however, remains a fraught enterprise. Though Joaquin is lauded for depicting nonnormative, counter-hegemonic ideas of who qualifies to be a Philippine historical and revolutionary subject, I argue—by examining three of Joaquin’s works—that the tenability of his representations remains delimited by his positionality as a cosmopolitan mestizo.

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