Background Image
Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  9 / 152 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 9 / 152 Next Page
Page Background

Affect and History in Ninotchka Rosca’s

State of War


the narrative of the nation, while obliterating the operation of

immanent power that governs the life-world of history.

Rosca’s writing of history seeks to uncover what is often

concealed by the operation of transcendent power. Her novel

stresses linkages between public and private, dominant power and

disciplinary governance, by using the rhetoric of love and episodes

of intimacy and private feelings in her portrayal of public violence.


State of War

, the intimate frontiers of empire are intermingled

with, and often saturated by, the violence of religious, military, or

political coercion. Since public violence is part of the fundamental

making of the private sphere, the effects of violence on individual

characters are both coercive and productive. In the historical

condition of imperial intimacy, transcendental power is folded into

the immanent plane of the everyday life, creating such emotions as

shame, fear, and betrayal in the subjects’ “intimate” encounters

with the colonizers and the totalitarian regime. These emotions

provide windows through which readers can view the characters’

feelings about themselves, the colonizers, and their reactions to the

historical moments in which they live. For affective subjects in

colonial times, shame arises when they are coerced into loving

their colonizers. During the time of Marcos’s totalitarian reign,

fear was a predominant feeling, derived from the sense of

insecurity on the part of the government for not being able to fully

control the people, and on the part of the people for the danger

that permeated everyday life, and for their ignorance of who to

trust, and what to expect in the future. Fear and suspicion

inevitably lead to acts of betrayal that further undermine the

security of the society.

In the meantime, these emotions are not self-contained

individual feelings, but affects that derive from bodily responses to

the environment and circulate among bodies. The affective

subjects’ capability of affecting and being affected by others in the

environment thus not only produces subjects who


, but subjects

who are molded into beings as they encounter other bodies. Recent