Beyond the Nation

Diasporic Filipino Literature and Queer Reading

298 pages

February, 2012

ISBN: 9780814768068



Also available in


Asian American Studies

Part of the Sexual Cultures series


Martin Joseph Ponce is Associate Professor of English at The Ohio State University.

All books by Martin Joseph Ponce

Beyond the Nation charts an expansive history of Filipino literature in the U.S., forged within the dual contexts of imperialism and migration, from the early twentieth century into the twenty-first. Martin Joseph Ponce theorizes and enacts a queer diasporic reading practice that attends to the complex crossings of race and nation with gender and sexuality. Tracing the conditions of possibility of Anglophone Filipino literature to U.S. colonialism in the Philippines in the early twentieth century, the book examines how a host of writers from across the century both imagine and address the Philippines and the United States, inventing a variety of artistic lineages and social formations in the process.

Beyond the Nation considers a broad array of issues, from early Philippine nationalism, queer modernism, and transnational radicalism, to music-influenced and cross-cultural poetics, gay male engagements with martial law and popular culture, second-generational dynamics, and the relation between reading and revolution. Ponce elucidates not only the internal differences that mark this literary tradition but also the wealth of expressive practices that exceed the terms of colonial complicity, defiant nationalism, or conciliatory assimilation. Moving beyond the nation as both the primary analytical framework and locus of belonging, Ponce proposes that diasporic Filipino literature has much to teach us about alternative ways of imagining erotic relationships and political communities.


  • “A major new contribution to the growing body of interdisciplinary work on the complex convergences of empire, sexuality, and transnational cultural politics. Through elegant analyses of influential and emergent texts spanning two hemispheres and over a century, Ponce’s book is as far-reaching and urgently grounded as the queer diasporic formations it illuminates.”

    —Victor Bascara, author of Model Minority Imperialism

  • Beyond the Nation is one of the most original, scrupulous, and moving books in Asian American literary criticism that has been published in the past fifteen years. Grounded in exhaustive research on a fragmented, challenging archive of Anglophone Filipino writings, this book poses the deceptively simple question, how far does meaning travel? While questions of queer diaspora, globalization, and cosmopolitanism have become taken up—and perhaps mired in—debates about the exclusionary or hegemonic nature of elite queer identities, Ponce’s approach to orientation reminds us of the utopian possibilities of what it means to be queer.”

    —Sarita Echavez See, University of Michigan

  • "Beyond the Nation is nuanced, pioneering, and politically vital for Filipino studies...not only a call for rigorous work beyond the national boundaries of the United States but also a wake-up call to interrogate our fatal attachment to US nation-state even as we are critical of it."

    —Sony Coranez Bolton, GLQ