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The Promise of the Future: Nation and Utopia in Philippine Future Fiction

My MA dissertation examines 18 Palanca prize-winning Philippine future fiction in English from 2000-2006 to understand how Filipino writers attempt to envision, anticipate and project several versions of future for the country. I analyzed these representations as to 1.) how they actively redefine notions of nation and represent the struggles towards its political possibilities and boundaries; and 2.) how these depictions of the nation’s future opens up into radical political prospects of social transformation.

The first chapter discusses the historic turns that produce the nation and the problems of its representation in the Philippines. This chapter deals with the many issues that compound the imagination of the nation; how its colonial history and experience of the present imperial economy has generated the manifold dilemmas of binding the nation, its people, their language and their conditions through Philippine national literature, particularly in the case of Philippine future fiction in English.

The second chapter deploys a reading of Philippine future fiction as national allegories by examining how these stories represent the nation and the entailing struggles towards its realization among Filipino writers while the third chapter explores Jameson’s utopian impulse to understand how Philippine future fiction lays out concrete aesthetic perception of the future and how this imagination of utopian/dystopian futures disclose the possibility of extending the nationalist struggle into more radical and more encompassing projects of social change.

Ultimately, this study attempts to reclaim and reassert the political relevance of the nation in the third world country, to open it up towards more liberating prospects. By bridging the discourse of national allegory to utopian impulse in the reading of Philippine future fiction, this study seeks to account for ways how these narratives articulate the persistent need of Filipino writers to come to terms with what is to come against what they hope to come as wagers in claiming their own time and space for the future.

Piocos-MA thesis,Cardiff-The Promise of the Future-Final version (1)