Tuesday, October 24, 2006



I just discovered while chit-chatting with Mom that I am one-quarter ITNEG.

Significance? The Itneg were the "babaylan" -- healers -- in the area where I was birthed in the Philippines. It wasn't until I learned this that my writer's block disappeared for my essay to be part of a forthcoming project whose current working title is:

Deeper Than Modernity: Babaylanism as a Deep Structure of Filipino Subjectivity

Here is more information below -- and I do post this, too, because I need to remind myself to work that Babaylan essay for meeting the volume's deadline. I wouldn't go so far as to posit myself as an indigenist -- if only because I don't know enough about this movement (is "movement" right word?). But I do know that as regards Moi's mythic recall on Babaylans, it's not something that fits the Western narratives in which much of my poetry unfold. Anyway, here's more info about this book which should provoke y'all to take a look when it gets published:

Volume Editors: Leny Mendoza-Strobel, Sonoma State University; S. Lily Mendoza, University of Denver; & Jean Vengua, Poet and Independent Scholar/Writer

Modernity is a master narrative that is marked by a particular ethos--an age of colonization and empire beginning after 1492 with voyages of discovery, the advent of the scientific revolution, the valorization of enlightenment values, etc). The values of modernity (e.g. individual autonomy, aggressive pursuit of wealth, rationalism, liberalism, etc.) have exercised a growing hegemony despite more recent postmodern challenges to their constructed historicity. To posit postcolonial and indigenous narratives as alternative frames of reference for understanding contemporary history is to question the presumption of modernity to define exclusively what it means to be human. In this volume, we want to deepen our understanding of modernity by revealing it as a narrow and limited framework in the longer narrative of life on earth. Indigenism, for example, would point to the remarkable diversity of ways of being on the planet that have been cataclysmically obliterated in colonial and (later) industrial enterprises, themselves carrying out the 10,000 year-old logic of settled agricultural conquests of the hunter-gatherer social organization that characterized pre-modern humans. Taken in this long view of time, indigenization scholars assert that there is a need to deploy memory and mythic recall in order to learn what we still can about those other sustainable ways of being on the planet and perhaps avert what ecologists see as the human species' headlong fall into utter destruction and eventual extinction.