Migrant Subjectivities: Jose Rizal’s ‘Noli Me Tangere’ in an Age of Globalization Avant la Lettre

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Jose Rizal is the accredited national hero of the Philippines and has written several essays, poems and two novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo located in the 19th century. His writings and personhood form the originary texts on the discourse of the hero and are taught by legal mandate all throughout the land. What interests me, however, is to inquire into his mimetic fictions as forms of literature in an age of globalization avant la lettre, identified by some scholars as the age of colonization. Jose Rizal, however, evades the simple categorizing and identification as a colonial subject with all the baggage associated with the term. As a scholar who benefited from an extended stay in Europe and America and the effects of the new ideas ushered in by European modernity, he occupied a rarefied space unknown to his fellowmen in the colonized country. What becomes of his writings in exile, if focalized as precursory writings of an intellectual migrant within today’s age of globalization? What if Rizal is not a mere object of colonization but constitutes a writer who escapes from a simplified mapping into agency through the peculiar praxis of translation that he consciously and consistently inserts into the Noli and the Fili? The concept of ‘touching tales’, which “targets structures of figural reference and narrative progression and ‘lines of thought” suggested by Leslie Adelson as a strategy for reading German contemporary Literature under the rubric of Turkish migration are inserted here as methodology. Could a reading of Rizal’s novels benefit from such a point of view and association? This paper attempts to reconfigure Jose Rizal in his role as the speaker for the Filipino in the future anterior!

Keywords: Literature and Migration, Jose Rizal, Globalization Avant la Lettre, 'Touching Tales', 'Lines of Thought'
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Josefa Schriever-Baldoz

Assitant Professor 7, Department of English & Comparative Literature
College of Arts & Letters, University of the Philippines Diliman

Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

I teach European Literatures and Translation Studies. I also work as a freelance translator working with French, German and Spanish languages. Recently, i have given more attention to literary works of migrant writers in Europe and gave a course where I had the opportunity to acquaint my students with the recent trend in migrant literary works in Europe. This is the focus of my recent research. Part of my interest in this conference, i must admit, is the chance to visit Istanbul and see in person the background to some of the stories i have taken up in class.

Ref: H08P0566