Anti-Japanese Nationalisms, Queer Filipinas, and the Limits of Victimhood

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Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Friday, January 22, 20163:00PM - 5:00PM108N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
M5S 3K7
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In this talk, Robert Diaz tracks the emergence of two important figures that have come to signify anti-Japanese nationalisms and calls for redress in the Philippines from the 1990’s onwards, namely the comfort woman (or women who were systematically abducted during Japanese occupation) and the japayuki (or women bound for Japan as migrant laborers because of the renewed economic relationship between the Philippines and Japan). By examining the representation of these figures in two provocative cinematic works—Nick DeOcampo’s The Sex Warriors and The Samurai (1996) and Gil Portes’ film Markova Comfort Gay (2000)—Diaz suggests that Filipino artists have queered these figures in order to expose and subtend how anti-Japanese nationalisms seek redress by reproducing heteronormative and patriarchal assumptions about victimized Filipinas. Diaz argues that by queering the comfort woman and the japayuki, these films thus dramatize the limits of victimhood as a nationalist articulation, while also limning how histories of Japanese colonialism and Japanese transnational capital intersect in the contemporary moment.

Robert Diaz is an Assistant Professor in the Faculties of Liberal Arts & Sciences and Graduate Studies at OCAD University. His teaching and scholarship focus on the intersections of Sexuality, Filipino, Asian, and Postcolonial Studies. Diaz is currently co-editing Diasporic Intimacies: Queer Filipinos/as and Canadian Imaginaries (under contract with Northwestern University Press), which brings together artists, scholars, and community workers in order to examine the contributions of queer Filipinos/as to Canadian culture and society. His first book project, Reparative Acts: Redressive Nationalisms and Queer Filipino/a Lives, examines how Filipino/a nationalisms from the 1970’s onwards have also possessed a redressive valence.His research has appeared or is forthcoming in Signs, GLQ, Women and Performance, Journal of Asian American Studies, Filipino Studies: Palimpsest of Nation and Diaspora, and Global Asian Popular Culture.


Rachel Ostep


Robert Diaz
Assistant Professor,Faculties of Liberal Arts & Sciences and Graduate Studies, OCAD University

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