Philippine philippine, or the Tropics in Cixous’s Dreaming True




Philippines, philippine, Hélène Cixous, material poetics, telepathy, dreaming true, garden, tropicality, decolonial, entanglement


Hélène Cixous’s oneiric ideation of the philippine (twin almond)—and by extension, her text Philippines (2009/2011)—primarily evokes love, or that force of attraction between two beings in which one can never say where each begins or ends. It is by the virtue of this entanglement that another philippine can be offered to this discourse: the Philippines that is that archipelago which encloses and opens up a particular location and reality within the tropics. This essay attempts to reconsider Cixous’s philippine via the Philippine, through dwelling on the stroke of homophony between these two signifiers and encountering them as materials in and of themselves. As such, these words are recognized here not simply as objects of the critique, but as its very method, a material poetics through which a comparative reading can be initiated and pursued. Through this reading, despite the absence of any explicit referentiality between the words being coincided here, the loving promise of ‘telepathic philippine’ is practiced, and perhaps more faithfully so, by expanding Cixous’s exclusively Euro-Western and temperate ideation to the Philippine tropics. In decolonially yoking Cixous’s Philippines and the Philippines together, the essay ultimately intimates their being twin kernels, too, dwelling in a single shell—that same shell that is this planet.

Author Biographies

Christian Jil Benitez, Ateneo de Manila University, The Philippines

Christian Jil Benitez is a queer Filipino scholar and poet, dividing his time between Manila and Bangkok. He is currently pursuing his PhD in comparative literature at Chulalongkorn University, working on a manuscript on the nonhuman and comparativity under the Second Century Fund (C2F) Scholarship. He teaches at the Department of Filipino at the Ateneo de Manila University, where he earned an AB-MA in literature. His essays on time, tropicality, and materiality have appeared in Kritika Kultura, Philippine Studies, Rupkatha, and The Routledge Handbook of Literature and Ecofeminism, among others. He is the associate editor for Katipunan, and a co-editor of the recent special issue of eTropic on tropical materialisms. His first book, Isang Dalumat ng Panahon, was published by AdMU Press.

Phrae Chittiphalangsri, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

Phrae Chittiphalangsri is a Thai scholar based in Bangkok. She is an Associate Professor at Chalermprakiat Center for Translation and Interpretation (CCTI), Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, and acts as the chairperson of the center’s MA program. She was co-editor of New Voices in Translation Studies (2008-2012), and now serves on the journal’s advisory board. She was elected member of IATIS executive council in 2015 and went on to be assigned the role of co-vice president in 2021. Phrae Chittiphalangsri has published articles on the role of translation in Orientalism, and Thai translation history in several international journals such as Translation Studies, Asia Pacific Translation and Intercultural Studies and The Translator. She is also a contributor of entries on Orientalism in Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, and Thai translation tradition in A World Atlas of Translation (2019). With Vicente Rafael, she co-edited Of Peninsulas and Archipelagos: The Landscape of Translation in Southeast Asia (2023), the first of several projects planned to expand translation studies in Southeast Asia.


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How to Cite

Benitez, C. J., & Chittiphalangsri, P. (2023). Philippine philippine, or the Tropics in Cixous’s Dreaming True. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 22(2), 33–56.