LET THE American dream stay American.

Take that from S. Lily Mendoza, assistant professor in Culture and Communication at the University of Denver in Colorado, when the UST Publishing House launched the Philippine edition of her book, Between the Homeland and the Diaspora: The Politics of Theorizing Filipino and Filipino-American Identities, last Sept. 12 at the Faculty of Arts and Letters Audio Visual Room in St. Raymund’s Bldg.

The book concerns Filipino-American cultural criticism and indigenization, the identity politics between Filipinos in their homeland and of Filipnos “contaminated” by the American diaspora. Routledge Publishing released the book in London and New York in 2002 as part of its series, Asian Americans: Reconceptualizing Culture, History, and Politics.

Mendoza narrates growing up in Angeles City near the former U.S. Clark Air Base, where she was raised as a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant and educated by the American Peace Corps Volunteers as part of their “civilizing mission.”

“Growing up with a mysterious syndrome of self-sabotage constantly played in my mind,” Mendoza writes in her book. “The feeling that my siblings and I were not good enough and that we should try harder to measure up to the invisible standard of excellence we could never reach… is a colonial gaze.”

Mendoza is currently on her research on the effects of commercializing cultures to natural resources. Her ecofemenist outlook was the subject of her launching lecture, “Savage Representations on the Academy: Liberal Ideology and the Impossibility of Nativist Longing.”

“Modern civilization, as we know it today, has brought us to the brink of catastrophe by exhausting resources in our land and turning us more into consumers who destroy the meaningful features of our community,” she said.

'Figure out what works for you'

Mendoza believes that the next generation could be spared from catastrophes like the 2004 South Asia tsunami only if people would imitate their ancestors who lived in harmony with “Mother Nature”.

“What we need now is a new vision of a different future that will pull as back from the brink,” Mendoza said. “We should learn from our ancient ancestors who have lived without exhausting the resources that were laid for us.”

The event is the fourth of the lecture series on Filipino-American writers sponsored by the Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy of the Faculty of Arts and Letters, UST Department of Humanities, Artlets Political Science Forum and the Varsitarian. Marc Laurenze C. Celis


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