Oceanographies of Seafaring, Masculinities, and Globalization
Publication Year: 2011
Filipino seamen currently compose approximately twenty percent of the 1.2 million international maritime transportation workers. Ninety percent of the world’s goods and commodities are transported by ship. Taken together, these statistics attest to the critical role Filipino seamen play in worldwide maritime trade. In Filipino Crosscurrents, an interdisciplinary ethnography, Kale Bantigue Fajardo examines the cultural politics of seafaring, Filipino maritime masculinities, and globalization in the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora.
Drawing on fieldwork conducted on ships and in the ports of Manila and Oakland, as well as on an industrial container ship that traveled across the Pacific, Fajardo argues that Filipino seamen have become key figures through which the Philippine state and economic elites promote Filipino masculinity and neoliberal globalization. From government officials to working-class seamen and seafarers’ advocates, Fajardo’s wide-ranging analysis exposes the gaps in dominant narratives of Filipino seamen in national, regional, and global contexts.
Writing in a hybrid style that weaves together ethnographic description, cultural critique, travelogue, and autobiography, Fajardo invites readers to reconsider the meanings of masculinity and manhood.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Preface: Boatmen and Boyhood
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I learned early on in life that water and the sea are spaces of Filipino/a gender production (masculinities), transnational connection, and cultural translation.1 The sea fi rst reached out to me on the banks of the river in Atlag, Malolos, Bulakan, Philippines. Lolo2 (Grandfather) Pete (my paternal grandfather) used to take me to Atlag as a child because that ...
Introduction: Filipino Crosscurrents
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In 1995, scholar-artist Allan Sekula argued that the “sea has been forgotten”1 in dominant U.S.-based scholarly debates about global-ization. Here, globalization broadly refers to the fl ows of capital, people, goods, images, and ideologies in a capitalist world system, signifi cantly implemented through neoliberal economics and policies.2 By ...
1 The Race of the Century: Galleons and Global City Desires in Manila
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You have to ride the boat. You can’t miss the boat. There’s only one President Joseph Estrada’s administration), personal communication.Dockside. A band in red uniforms plays traditional fanfare music. A small crowd waits eagerly for boats to arrive. A television helicopter fl ies over-head, apparently broadcasting live. Everyone is excited, full of anticipa-...
2 Ashore and Away: Filipino Seamen as Heroes and Deserters
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The “OFWs as bagong bayani” (overseas Filipino/a workers as new heroes or heroines) is a persistent and dominant narrative in the Philippines and in some parts of the diaspora. An illustrative example of this discourse is presented in the video Tagumpay Nating Lahat (The Success, Prosperity, or Victory of All of Us), shown as an audiovisual tribute to Filipino seafarers ...
3 Ethnography in Blue: Navigating Time-Space in the Global Economy
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During fi eldwork in Manila in 1998, I traveled by jeep or taxi from Quezon City (where I lived) to Rizal Park in Ermita (district), to the Teodoro M. Kalaw Street side of the park, near the National Library. There on T. M. Kalaw, Filipino seamen or those aspiring to become seamen gathered, in search of employment on board ships. Rizal Park, ...
4 Transportation: Seamen and Tomboys in Ports and at Sea
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There is reason to seize the bits and piece of . . . history as they fl ash up in the randomness of memory. There is a history jeopardized by preva-lent understandings of queer identities and tired notions. . . .At 5:00 a.m. it is dark and quiet when I wake up, trying to beat the morning rush hour in Metro Manila. The port should only be about a twenty-minute ...
Epilogue: Decolonizing Filipino Masculinities
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It is a cold (20°F) and clear early February morning when I begin writing this epilogue. After several days of light snowfall, the South Minneapolis cityscape is covered again by white powder. Is this poetic in/justice that my task is to put closure on this book as I am literally situated in the middle of the North American continent, far removed from the sea? (This is a fi rst ...
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Creating Filipino Crosscurrents was a voyage I always wanted to take. Thank you to the many stars who steadfastly guided my way. First and foremost, in Manila, in Oakland, and at sea, maraming salamat po to the many Filipino seamen I was honored to meet. Thank you for your time, stories, and analyses about seafaring, shipping, migration, nationalism, ...
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About the Author
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Kale Bantigue Fajardo is an assistant professor in the Department of American Studies and the Asian American Studies Program at the ...
Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2011