Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Bobis, M. C. "Confounding light: subversion and transnational sympathy." Social Identities: journal for the study of race, nation and culture 19 .2 (2013): 145-157.


This essay proposes the concept of ‘transnational sympathy’ aligned withdecoloniality and the Philippine social value of kapwa as reflected in MerlindaBobis’s novel The Solemn Lantern Maker, which is about the neo-colonial forcesof globalisation and the post-9/11 war on terror. Transnational sympathy isdiscussed in relation to the architectonics of the novel in which story, art, andsocial design evoke each other, and embody an alternative design to colonial andpostcolonial paradigms. This essay raises the possibility that, in its sometimesreductive and prescriptive tendency, postcolonial epistemology can also turnparadoxically neo-colonial. Thus, it needs to be decolonised by relocating itsattention from the globalised theoretical discourse of the academy to theparticular lived experience and its own storytelling. This local storytelling is anembodied ‘grassroots theorising.’