- Fellowship year:2012-2013
- University: University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
- Dissertation Topic/Category: Latin America
- Dissertation Title: Woman Enough?: Constructing Filipina Womanhood, Filipino Nationalism, and Empire
This dissertation traces the emergence of new "modern" Filipina identities during the American colonial period of the Philippines. I critically examine racial, gendered, ethnic, and class formations of ideal and deviant modern Filipina womanhood and femininities. The dissertation traces the ways in which the multilayered power struggles and hierarchies created by intersecting Filipino nationalist and United States imperial projects during the early 1900s through the 19030s produced numerous and often contradictory dominant definitions of the modern Filipina. Just as important, I examine how Filipinas, through their corporeal actions and participation in popular discourse, navigated through, with, and against power systems. In analyzing the numerous characterizations of modern womanhood we can also determine how Filipinas themselves participated in constructing modern Filpinia identities. If constructing visions of ideal womanhood meant to consolidate hegemonic power in colonial Philippines, how did shifting definitions of womanhood impact Filipinas' status and power in colonial society? Furthermore, how did Filipina identity formations mobilize women from certain ethnic, racial, and class backgrounds while simultaneously disenfranchising others?Closely examining modern Filipina womanhood in cultural, political, and economic terrains challenges dominant scholarship on the relationship between United States imperialism and Filipino nationalism during the early twentieth century. These works tended to ignore that national and imperial projects manifested discourses, desires, hopes and anxieties concerning colonial modernity through figures of the modern Filipina. Instead, dominant scholarship portrayed prominent men as the only or primary historical agents; rendered women as solely derivative subjects whose purpose was to enhance the historical narrative of male historical agents; suggested that modernity and modernization mainly occurred in economic and industrial change; and that significant power struggles transpired either in the form of warfare or through policy. By focusing on how constructs of Filipina womanhood emerged out of simultaneous US and Philippine efforts to advance and cope with cultural, idealogical, political, economic transnational flows of imperialism my project, fills in the absence of Filipinas from history, showing that Filipinas and Filipina womanhood were in fact at the center of global change impacting the Philippines and the United States.