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Confounding light: subversion and transnational sympathy

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This essay proposes the concept of ‘transnational sympathy’ aligned with decoloniality and the Philippine social value of kapwa as reflected in Merlinda Bobis's novel The Solemn Lantern Maker, which is about the neo-colonial forces of globalisation and the post-9/11 war on terror. Transnational sympathy is discussed in relation to the architectonics of the novel in which story, art, and social design evoke each other, and embody an alternative design to colonial and postcolonial paradigms. This essay raises the possibility that, in its sometimes reductive and prescriptive tendency, postcolonial epistemology can also turn paradoxically neo-colonial. Thus, it needs to be decolonised by relocating its attention from the globalised theoretical discourse of the academy to the particular lived experience and its own storytelling. This local storytelling is an embodied ‘grassroots theorising.’
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Keywords: Philippines; decoloniality; kapwa; transnational

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Creative Arts, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, Wollongong, Australia

Publication date: March 1, 2013

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