Professional and Biographical Information

I am originally from Olongapo City, Philippines, the erstwhile location of the Subic Naval Base before US military bases were decommissioned in the early 1990s. (This de-militarization changed when the Philippines became a theatre in the War on Terror after the 9/11 attacks) My research interests were born from my own personal experience of US militarism. In the United States, I grew up in San Francisco and outside of Chicago. 

Before coming to Amherst College, I was an Assistant Professor of Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Before that I held a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship through the Creating Connections Consortium (C3) at Middlebury College in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. As a graduate student at the University of Michigan, I did dissertation fieldwork in Quezon City and Manila as a Fulbright fellow exploring the intersection of queer literary culture, activism, and party politics. I was also a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison studying the Tagalog/Filipino language, a linguistic archive I hope to incorporate in future research.

Personally, I enjoy cooking, food-writing, and reading poetry. I am a low-brow pop culture connoisseur. I have a profound yet scholarly fascination with K-Pop.  

Degrees

Ph.D., American Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2016)
M.A., Foreign Languages and Literatures, Marquette University (2009)
B.A., Spanish, Marquette University (2007)

Research  Interests

I am a critical ethnic studies scholar working at the intersection of settler colonial studies, queer, disability studies, and postcolonial theory. The “critical” in critical ethnic studies typically means taking seriously the ways that US ethnic minority claims for political recognition contravene indigenous sovereignty. I am trained in the field of American Studies but have always been interested in the late Spanish colonial period in the Philippines (1872-1896) – an epoch that Philippine historiography conventionally dubs one of “nationalist consciousness” or when the Filipino nation was born – in which mestizo Filipino intellectuals produced a rich archive of Spanish textual, artistic, and scholarly materials. As a comparative Americanist, I seek to understand how Hispanic Filipino culture protracted into the US colonial period in the Philippines (1898-1934). In my work I have found that the eliminatory and genocidal logics of settler colonialism shaped the way that the United States expanded transpacifically, particularly when the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines were “ceded” to the US by Spain in 1898. Through the case studies of the Philippines and Puerto Rico we might pose the question: What might a postcolonial reading of the Jim Crow era look like? What might it mean to frame an Asian American Studies project through such a critical starting point? At a time when the US legally inscribed a policy of “separate but equal” via Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) it paradoxically incorporated the “brown” nations of Spain’s last colonial possessions. I explore the ways that the United States made sense of its new brown natives or “indios” – I claim that US imperialism was a transpacific extension of settler colonialism. Within this context, in my book project, I research the ways that Filipino Chinese mestizos created racial hierarchies, drawing from US racial ideology, in which more native (i.e. – less mestizo) Filipinos were rendered “stupid,” “idiotic,” “crazy,” and in need of rehabilitation. I argue that mestizo classifications of disability and Filipinx indigeneity were adumbrated by logics of heteronormativity. 

Teaching Interests

Much like my research, my courses explore different genealogies of racial admixture and disability by drawing generously on Latin American cultural studies, Latinx studies, Chicana feminist theory, and Filipinx American studies. From a theoretical vantage, my courses engage contemporary debates in the fields of disability studies, settler colonial studies, and queer of color critique. Disability studies attempts to locate the "problem" of impairment not within the individual as a failure to be addressed through personal responsibility. Instead, it locates disability within the environment and asks us to consider it a social problem that requires collective action. Studies of settler colonialism explore the differences between more conventionally understood franchise colonialism (British and French colonialism, for instance) and the replacement of the native population by settlers. This field argues that this a structure that influences political life today rather than simply a historical event the thorny issues around which have been "settled." Queer of color critique is a field of immanent critique that subverts Marxist thought arguing that dimensions of difference like race, sexuality, gender identity and expression, are indexical of asymmetrical economic relations. I routinely ask students in my courses to make their own novel intellectual connections between fields of thought that typically do not move together in their analysis of social problems or phenomena. Often, given the transnational dimensions of my own work, students will find that I problematize without completely discarding the geopolitical rubrics through which we have typically ordered the world, our knowledge about it, and our place in it, i.e. - "Asia," "Latin America," etc. 

Selected Publications

“Somos los del español deficiente: Crip Chicana/Filipina Pedagogies of Translation,” Aster(ix): A Journal of Literature, Art, and Criticism, “Kitchen Table Translation,” ed. Mahdu Kaza (Summer 2017).

“Cripping The Philippine Enlightenment: Ilustrado Travel Literature, Postcolonial Disability, and the ‘Normate Imperial Eye/I’”, Verge: Studies in Global Asias, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Fall 2016), pp. 138-162.