Park’s fascinating book makes a major contribution to the emerging field of transpacific studies by adding the often-neglected Pacific Latin American region in its anti-imperialist dialogue with the Philippines. Avoiding romanticization, she offers a genealogy of how, from 1898 to 1964, both Filipino and Latin American intellectuals addressed, through appropriated discourses of latinidad and hispanidad, transpacific links among former Spanish colonies in order to collectively resist US imperialism.
As a nation, the Philippines has a colonial history with both Spain and the United States. Its links to the Americas are longstanding and complex. Intercolonial Intimacies interrogates the legacy of the Spanish Empire and the cultural hegemony of the United States by analyzing the work of twentieth-century Filipino and Latin/o American writers and diplomats who often read one other and imagined themselves as kin. The relationships between the Philippines and the former colonies of the Spanish Empire in the Americas were strengthened throughout the twentieth century by the consolidation of a discourse of shared, even familiar, identity. This distinct inherited intercolonial bond was already disengaged from their former colonizer and further used to defy new forms of colonialism. By examining the parallels and points of contact between these Filipino and Latin American writers, Paula C. Park elaborates on the “intercolonial intimacies” that shape a transpacific understanding of coloniality and latinidad.
No other scholarly work situates the contending discourses of Spanish American modernismo, Hispanismo, and the (Anglo) Sajonismo of US colonial policies of ‘benevolent assimilation’ in Philippine literature and politics as comprehensively and eruditely as Park’s Intercolonial Intimacies. Drawing on colonial history and literature, Latin American cultural theory, (US) empire studies, and the multiple legacies of world-systems theory, Park reawakens the forgotten ties between writers and intellectuals speaking across oceans and prepares us to grasp at once the Latin(x) contribution to transpacific studies and the Philippine contribution to Hispanophone literature.