Performing the Postcolonial: Philippine Prison Spectacles after Web 2.0

Áine Mangaoang


This essay argues that the legacy of colonialism lives on in contemporary Philippine experience, a century after the Philippine Exhibit of the St. Louis World Fair (1904). Drawing from the renowned Philippine phenomenon of the Dancing Inmates of Cebu – a group of 1500 prisoners at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Centre (CPDRC), this essay traces the noticeably American nature of the Philippine state after decades of explicit and implicit US imperialism. The CPDRC prisoners' performances, both during the live hataw sayaw and recorded iterations via YouTube, with hundreds upon hundreds of clearly marked Filipino prisoners at its core, become metaphors for twenty-first-century postcolonial Philippine attempts to assert their independence from the United States.


Performance; Parapostcolonial; World's Fair; Philippines; US colonialism

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