CVSP and CAH
Talk with Dr. Paul Nadal (Princeton University)
Reading Remittances, Reading Literature
Monday, November 14, 2022, at 4:00 PM
Asfari Conference Hall, Asfari Building, Level 1
Abstract: Focusing on the Philippine labor diaspora, this paper proposes a framework for reading the mediation between literature and remittances, or the cash transfers that Filipino migrants send home. Whereas the World Bank defines “remittances” as “the portions of international migrant workers’ earnings that are sent back to family members in their countries of origin,” the literature produced in and about the Philippine labor diaspora extends the term to mean not just the economic instrumentalities by which migrants send cash, but also the historical determinations of labor, time, and value that enable these cross-border exchanges to take place. Through close readings of recent fiction, my paper excavates these historically meaningful dimensions of remittances and argues that "reading remittances, reading literature" elaborates the symbolic associations of obligation, reciprocity, and power of remittances that political economy does not theorize but that Philippine literature in English does.