Suspended Apocalypse is a rich and provocative meditation on the emergence of the Filipino American as a subject of history. Culling from historical, popular, and ethnographic archives, Dylan Rodríguez provides a sophisticated analysis of the Filipino presence in the American imaginary. Radically critiquing current conceptions of Filipino American identity, community, and history, he puts forth a genealogy of Filipino genocide, rooted in the early twentieth-century military, political, and cultural subjugation of the Philippines by the United States.
Suspended Apocalypse critically addresses what Rodríguez calls "Filipino American communion," interrogating redemptive and romantic notions of Filipino migration and settlement in the United States in relation to larger histories of race, colonial conquest, and white supremacy. Contemporary popular and scholarly discussions of the Filipino American are, he asserts, inseparable from their origins in the violent racist regimes of the United States and its historical successor, liberal multiculturalism.
Rodríguez deftly contrasts the colonization of the Philippines with present-day disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and Mount Pinatubo to show how the global subjection of Philippine, black, and indigenous peoples create a linked history of genocide. But in these juxtapositions, Rodríguez finds moments and spaces of radical opportunity. Engaging the violence and disruption of the Filipino condition sets the stage, he argues, for the possibility of a transformation of the political lens through which contemporary empire might be analyzed, understood, and perhaps even overcome.