Genealogy as National History in Jun Cruz Reyes’s <I>Etsa-Puwera</I>
This essay analyses Filipino writer Jun Cruz Reyes’s Centennial Literary Prize-winning novel Etsa-Puwera (2000) as a historical novel that makes use of genealogy or family history as a way to contest the historiographic foundations of official, i.e. elite-centred, nationalism. It first embarks upon a discussion of the significance of the novel as both a discursive unit in the state’s official regime of the nation-formation narrative, and a creative project that overtly intends to foreground the limits of, and mystifications by, official nationalism. The essay then discusses how the discursive invocation of the family shapes ideological conceptions on nation and nationalism. Finally, it closely reads how Etsa-Puwera employs the expansive genealogical narrative of the Balinghasay clan to interrogate mainstream, elite-centred historiography and its influence in the construction of Filipino nationalist discourse, and foreground the historical agency of the unjustly excluded etsa-puwera of Philippine society.
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