A revolutionary study of Spanish-language Filipino literature as the first creative reaction to American imperialism
Subversions of the American Century: Filipino Literature in Spanish and the Transpacific Transformation of the United States argues that the moment the United States became an overseas colonial power in 1898, American national identity was redefined across a global matrix. The Philippines, which the United States seized at that point from Spain and local revolutionaries, is therefore the birthplace of a new kind of America, one with a planetary reach that was, most profoundly, accompanied by resistance to that reach by local peoples.
Post-1898 Filipino literature in Spanish testifies crucially to this foregrounding fact of American global power, for it is the language of that tradition that speaks directly to the reality of one empire having wrested land from another. Yet this literature is invisible in American Studies programs, Asian Studies programs, Spanish and English departments, and everywhere else. Subversions of the American Century will change that. After Subversions, students and scholars in various American Studies disciplines as well as Asian, Spanish, and Comparative Literature fields will find it necessary to revisit and revamp the basic parameters by which they approach their subjects.
Adam Lifshey is Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Georgetown University.
“Adam Lifshey is that rare breed and hybrid of assiduous cultural studies scholar and astute literary critic. Written with mordant humor and trenchant irony, Subversions of the American Century unearths Filipino-Hispanic writing from the U.S. colonial period in the Philippines and boldly puts this unlikely literary tradition at the core of a reconstellation of curious geographies and transposition of various critical frames. Lifshey crosses the normally separated areas of Spanish and American studies and argues, compellingly, for the exemplary modernity of this writing, its centrality to Global Studies and emergent American Empire Critique.”
—Oscar V. Campomanes, Ateneo de Manila University
“Based on the study of a widely unfamiliar archive of twentieth-century hispanophone literature from the Philippines, Adam Lifshey’s Subversions of the American Century offers lively introductions to authors from Pedro Paterno to Mariano de la Rosa, interprets their original operas, poems, and novels in fresh and nuanced close readings, and argues that these works should be considered as part of American literature.”—Werner Sollors, author of Beyond Ethnicity and Multilingual America
“Lifshey has developed a sound critical study that involves the intersection of several important scholarly agendas. . .I know of no other study that raises the sort of issues of Spanish-language writing in the American English-language dominated overseas empire than Lifshey’s does . . . and it is a significant addition to the most innovative extensions of Hispanic studies.”
—David William Foster, Arizona State University