Monday, February 23, 2015

Is there an “authentic Filipino experience”? What happens when Filipino writers attempt to carve out an identity within world literature? Does “authenticity” even matter?

Bobby Benedicto and Miguel Syjuco discuss culture, identity and authenticity in literature.


Miguel Syjuco earned a master’s degree from Columbia University and is completing his PhD at the University of Adelaide, Australia. He received the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize and the Philippines’ highest literary honor, the Palanca Award, for the unpublished manuscript of Ilustrado. Born in 1976 into a political family in Manila, Syjuco left the Philippines to become a writer. He currently lives in Montreal, Canada with his girlfriend and their two cats.

Bobby Benedicto received his BA in Political Science from Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines), his MA in Political Science from York University (Toronto), and his PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of Melbourne (Australia) for his dissertation, Bright Lights, Gay Globality: Mobility, Class, and Gay Life in Twenty-first Century Manila. Prior to coming to McGill, he was an Assistant Professor at Ateneo de Manila University, and then held a postdoctoral fellowship at the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry. Dr. Benedicto’s research is located at the cutting edge of interdisciplinary and transnational inquiry in sexuality studies, gender studies, urban studies and media and cultural studies. His book, Under Bright Lights: Gay Manila and the Global Scene (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming), will make a major contribution to scholarship on urban transformation and the role that queer-identified cultures play in the re-construction of postcolonial cities, particularly in post-revolutionary contexts. While at McGill, he will work with Professor Carrie Rentschler and will continue to work on his second book, Queer Afterlives: Dictatorship Architecture, Transgender Performance, and the Place of the Dead.

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