The Department of Literature
College of Liberal Arts
De La Salle University-Manila

cordially invites you to

Mourning Matters: Jose Dalisay’s Soledad’s Sisters and Rida Fitria’s Sebongkah Tanah Retak


Carlos M. Piocos III, Ph.D.

18 October 2016 (Tuesday)
2:30-4:00 PM
Yuchengco Building, Rm. 409




This lecture examines how migrant women’s lives are politicized through the work of mourning by analyzing how grieving over their deaths becomes a way of also claiming accountability to nation-state that deploys them as citizen-breadwinners. I employ critical discussions on the politics of mourning by Vicente Rafael, Pheng Cheah and Judith Butler to analyze two Southeast Asian novels that present different responses to deaths of Filipina and Indonesian migrant domestic workers: Jose Dalisay’s Soledad’s Sister (2008) and Rida Fitria’s Sebongkah Tanah Retak (‘A Lump of Cracked Land,’ 2010). While these texts are different—one is a faux-detective novel while the other a novel inspiratif (‘inspirational novel’)—they portray how grief becomes an affective economy, in that it reproduces and circulates feelings, like pity, sympathy, rage and reproach, that forges a community to either foster or forestall political action. My reading maps out how the bereavement over migrant women’s lives can lead to a more critical understanding of migrant activism that intersects issues of human rights and labor export policies of Philippine and Indonesian states, opening the possibilities of social movements that not only transforms a national community but also transcends national boundaries among and between Filipina and Indonesian migrant women.


Dr. Carlos M. Piocos III teaches with Literature Department of De La Salle University. His current research studies the politics of migration and labor in Southeast Asia through the lens of literary and film studies, critical theory and affect studies. A multi-awarded poet, his first book of poems, Corpus, is published by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House.

Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/357658741245368/