The Problematic Representations of the Orient, Women, and Food Transformations in Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl

Jungyoun Kim

DOI: https://test.crossref.org/

Abstract

Paolo Bacigalupi’s novel, The Windup Girl, illustrates Bangkok using genetic diseases and plagues. In this work, mass-produced, genetically modified food becomes both a diplomatic weapon and subsistence for survival. Western-based multinational agri-corporations transform food as industrial products, and Bacigalupi in turn illustrates the problems of genetic modification led by global capitalism and multinational corporations. However, his critique of genetic modification and food transformation relies on ethnic and gender stereotyping within an Orientalist frame. While he challenges the practices of corporate capitalism, his representation of Asian cultures and traditions is monolithic and consistently reproductive of Orientalist stereotypes. Also, the politics of representation in the novel is closely related with identity politics and subjectivity. In particular, the politics of representation in Bacigalupi’s novel are suspect in constructing Orientalist and sexist stereotypes as a frame, making his critiques of genetic modification and food transformation within Western power structures questionable.

Keywords

ecofeminism, food transformation, Orientalism, GMO, representation, Western hegemony

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

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Jan Baetens
Professor
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Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

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Inha University (South Korea)

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Yale University (US)

Faruk
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Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
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Leela Gandhi
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Inderpal Grewal
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Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
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University of Cape Town (South Africa)
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University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
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Bienvenido Lumbera
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University of the Philippines

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Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
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University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
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Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

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Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)