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Assembling the Postcolony: Cultural Cold War and Filipino Area Studies

How did a film, a workshop, an anthology, and a department promote decolonization and steal its potential at the same time? Assembling the Postcolony explores the strange and surprising convergence of US Cold War design and the rise of Filipino cultural institutions that openly stimulated decolonizing dreams and covertly advanced neocolonial interests. Focusing on the making of an anti-communist film Huk in a New Life in 1953, the establishment of the first creative writing workshop in Asia in 1962, the production of a landmark anthology Brown Heritage in 1967, and the formation of an academic department devoted to Philippine Studies in 1970, the book foregrounds the agency of nonhuman cultural models and institutions in propelling the twin development of decolonization and neocolonialism as contending yet complementary social forces. Assembling the Postcolony argues that these forms of social organizations were crucial in advancing Filipino decolonization while hiding US neocolonial interests in plain sight. By exploring the confluence of decolonization and neocolonialism in non-human forms of social organizations, Assembling the Postcolony shows how the postcolonial condition that resulted from the grant of US independence was a peculiar effect of the covert American appropriation of the historical project of decolonization.


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