Things Fall Away

9780822344315: Hardback
Release Date: 15th May 2009

9780822344469: Paperback
Release Date: 15th May 2009

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 496

Series Post-Contemporary Interventions

Duke University Press Books

Things Fall Away

Philippine Historical Experience and the Makings of Globalization

An argument that subaltern experiences that are devalued and overlooked in progressive late-twentieth-century Philippine literature have been essential to the social and economic changes wrought by globalization.
Hardback / £101.00
Paperback / £27.99

In Things Fall Away, Neferti X. M. Tadiar offers a new paradigm for understanding politics and globalization. Her analysis illuminates both the power of Filipino subaltern experience to shape social and economic realities and the critical role of the nation’s writers and poets in that process. Through close readings of poems, short stories, and novels brought into conversation with scholarship in anthropology, sociology, politics, and economics, Tadiar demonstrates how the devalued experiences of the Philippines’ vast subaltern populations—experiences that “fall away” from the attention of mainstream and progressive accounts of the global capitalist present—help to create the material conditions of social life that feminists, urban activists, and revolutionaries seek to transform. Reading these “fallout” experiences as vital yet overlooked forms of political agency, Tadiar offers a new and provocative analysis of the unrecognized productive forces at work in global trends such as the growth of migrant domestic labor, the emergence of postcolonial “civil society,” and the “democratization” of formerly authoritarian nations.

Tadiar treats the historical experiences articulated in feminist, urban protest, and revolutionary literatures of the 1960s–90s as “cultural software” for the transformation of dominant social relations. She considers feminist literature in relation to the feminization of labor in the 1970s, when between 300,000 and 500,000 prostitutes were working in the areas around U.S. military bases, and in the 1980s and 1990s, when more than five million Filipinas left the country to toil as maids, nannies, nurses, and sex workers. She reads urban protest literature in relation to authoritarian modernization and crony capitalism, and she reevaluates revolutionary literature’s constructions of the heroic revolutionary subject and the messianic masses, probing these social movements’ unexhausted cultural resources for radical change.

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction: Loosed Upon the World 1
Part I. Feminization
1. Prostituted Filipinas and the Crisis of Philippine Culture 25
2. Women Alone 59
3. Poetics of Filipina Export 103
Part II. Urbanization
4. Modern Refuse in the "City of Man" 143
5. Petty Adventures in (the Nation's) Capital 183
6. Metropolitan Debris 217
Part III. Revolution
7. Revolutionary Imagination and the Masses 265
8. Guerilla Passion and the Unfinished Cultural Revolution 299
9. The Sorrows of People 333
Notes 379
Bibliography 445
Index 469

Neferti X. M. Tadiar is Professor of Women’s Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the author of Fantasy-Production: Sexual Economies and Other Philippine Consequences for the New World Order, winner of the Philippine National Book Award.

Things Fall Away is a major theoretical statement about contemporary forms of world making. In this brilliant and poetic book, Neferti Tadiar works through the dilemmas of our time—transnational labor flows, urban disorder, lost hopes for progressive change, new hopes for self-expression—to return feminist theory to center stage in our understanding of the global political economy.”—Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, author of Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection

Things Fall Away is a remarkable achievement. It is a work of considerable scope, full of penetrating insights and urgent critiques. It brings to the surface an entire literary history that very few know about in the West: a literary history that speaks volumes about the conditions of modernity in various parts of the world.”—Vicente L. Rafael, author of The Promise of the Foreign: Nationalism and the Technics of Translation in the Spanish Philippines

“The study of the Philippines, one of Europe’s earliest and the US’s first colonies, obliges the rethinking of colonial histories. In the growing body of crucial work on the Philippines, Neferti X. M. Tadiar’s Things Fall Away is indispensable reading, a compelling rethinking of both postcolonial theory and transnational feminism. A richly poetic lament for the things that fall away, it dares still to descry in cast-aside affect and in occluded practices resources for the difficult labor of living otherwise.”—David Lloyd, author of Irish Times: Temporalities of Modernity