What debt do we owe the subprime debtor? What purchase, the kind of knowledge and literacy produced by the contractual illiterate, the debtor who seemingly does not know how to read a contract? Analyzing the twenty-first century theatrical adaptation of Carlos Bulosan’s 1940s short story “The Romance of Magno Rubio,” Sarita Echavez See makes a case for the renewed relevance of Bulosan’s insights about the illiterate Filipino American fieldworker of the Great Depression for the contractually illiterate subprime debtor of the current era. Bulosan’s juxtaposition of the abstract with the literal in his portrayal of the exploited labor and desires of Filipino American seasonal fieldworkers exposes new forms of knowledge about debt, obligation, and reciprocity that ironically emanate from the illiterate and the uneducated.


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pp. 495-513
Launched on MUSE
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