Towards a ‘radical travelogue’: language, representation and resisting Orientalism in Western travel writing on Manila

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


For too long Western travel writing ‘has perpetuated Empire’ (Edwards and Graulund) and been motivated by an assumption of superiority over non-Western cultures and societies. This is true of a trajectory of Western travel writing about Manila dating back to the 1840s that I term ‘Manilaism’. This paper paper seeks, first of all, to critique Manilaism’s employment of linguistic devices such as passive grammatical forms and ‘linguistic colonisation’ (Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin) in service of such ethnocentric and imperialist adumbrations. Using my own creative practice as a case study and drawing on the insights of theorists including Edward Said, Barbara Korte and Kari Gísláson, and creative writers such as Madis Ma. Guerrero, Luis H. Francia and John Sayles, I go on to examine how such formal techniques – and the reactionary constructions they actuate – can be contested by the ‘radical travelogue’, an anti-hegemonic approach to the genre that seeks to depict Manileños more fairly and faithfully by, amongst many other methods, rendering their speech in authentic vernacular, paying attention to slang, cadences, prosodies and grammar patterns that are specific to their ethnic and national identities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2018
EventIAWE Conference 2018: World Englishes and multilingual realities: Evolutions, interfaces, and trajectories - Ateneo de Manila University, Manila, Philippines
Duration: 31 May 20182 Jun 2018


ConferenceIAWE Conference 2018
Internet address


  • travel writing
  • Literature
  • Asia-Pacific


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