What does it mean to center, and to read and discuss critically the narratives, lyrics, and epistemologies of Filipino Americans? This is what we have been “wrapping our heads around,” all semester, and during all the semesters that I have taught Filipino American Literature classes.
This is not simply a celebration of diversity, a much thrown around term these days. Diversity does not do enough, to examine institutions, and historical forces which marginalize our narratives, and minimize our abilities to speak for ourselves.
Neither is this simply a celebration of cultural pride. We do celebrate our writers and artists, not only for their apparent talent and ability, but for what substantial and eloquent things they and their works have to say about history and cultural values, and yes, about knowledge and power. These are works that humanize us, center us, for all of our triumphs and shortcomings.
Reading and discussing Filipino American narratives and lyrics in our university classrooms appears to be a privilege, and so it’s important too, to take this work outside of the university’s walls, and into public spaces, for readers such as yourselves to access.
In addition to the individual writings by this semester’s AAS 352 students which we have posted here, and which we hope you will read and enjoy, students have also performed annotations, over at genius.com, on the following works:
Jason Bayani, “Depression,”
Jason Bayani, “Shaking the Steel Trees,”
Jason Bayani, “Gristle,”
J. Medeiros, “Constance,”
Barbara Jane Reyes, “To Know,”
Barbara Jane Reyes, “To Pray to the Goddess of Lost Things,”
Al Robles, “Tagatac in Ifugao Mountain,”
Al Robles, “Rappin’ with Ten Thousand Carabaos in the Dark,”
Tony Robles, “Son of a Janitor,”
Patrick Rosal, “Dangerous Poems.”
Ultimately, it is our hope that the works posted here will inspire and empower you to create some work of your own!
Maraming salamat po,
Barbara Jane Reyes and AAS 352, Fall 2016