Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Winnie Chan

Second Advisor

Jennifer Rhee

Third Advisor

Cristina Stanciu

Fourth Advisor

G. Antonio Espinoza


The Philippines lies at the intersection of two global empires, having been under Spanish colonial rule from 1521-1898 and American colonial rule from 1899-1945. As a country that expresses a melange of cultures, both on the global and local level, Filipino national identity is constantly in debate. This thesis examines how literature in the Philippines can play a role in establishing a national identity in relation to the ways in which Filipinos of both the home country and the Filipino diaspora negotiate language. Analyzing José Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere (1887) alongside Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters (1990) through the theoretical framework of the contact zone, a rejection of the third space, and deterritorialization shows that Filipino culture consumes imposing foreign cultures, dismantling even their label as foreign. Thus, the interaction between Filipino culture and colonial culture is a rich example of how to decentralize the Western gaze in postcolonial literary analysis.


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