Dismantling Gendered Nationalism in Kee Thuan Chye’s We Could **** You, Mr. Birch
Philip, Susan, (2008) Dismantling Gendered Nationalism in Kee Thuan Chye’s We Could **** You, Mr. Birch. Asiatic, IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 2 (1). pp. 84-96. ISSN 19853106
Official URL: http://asiatic.iiu.edu.my/Archive/articles/Dismantling%20Gendered%20Nationalism.pdf
University of Malaya
This article analyses the representation of gender in Kee Thuan Chye’s play We Could **** You, Mr. Birch (1994), examining how the characters are used to undermine patriarchal concepts of nation. Kee uses historical characters and events, situating them within a modern-day frame which takes a critical stance towards the common portrayal of both imperialism and nationalism as male-centred domains. The events of this play highlight the masculinising discourse of imperialism and, subsequently, nationalism; this discourse is then viewed through a modern lens which interrupts it through the presence of “unruly woman whose refusal to comply with gender expectations unsettles various power relations on which the stability of the… society depends” (Gilbert 153), as well as men who cannot live up to the expectations of nationalistic constructions of male power. He thus critiques the “maleness” of the nation, while proffering alternative possibilities for nationconstruction through the recovery of (fictional) female histories.
|Keywords:||Malaysia, theatre, nationalism, gender, historiography, postcolonial|
|Subjects:||P Language and Literature|
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