Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2019
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Intertwined Settler Colonialism of the Philippines, Japan, and the United States: Gendered Reconfiguration of Race and Religious Orders in Philippine "Frontiers"

My dissertation project investigates the intertwined settler colonialism of the Philippines, Japan, and the United States through the little-known history and legacy of Japanese settlements in the US colonial Philippines. More than fifty thousand Japanese of a wide variety of social classes sailed for the Philippines during a period of Japanese overseas expansion in the first half of the twentieth century. Japanese settler men married local women or brought wives from Japan and built their families and communities throughout the US-ruled Philippines, especially in what the US colonial government called "frontiers." The colonial government encouraged the settlement of American, Christian Filipino and Japanese migrants to "frontiers" in part to marginalize and disempower the local indigenous and Muslim populations. I examine the intimate and violent encounters of Japanese settlers with indigenous and Muslim populations, analyzing the accounts of these contacts produced by Japanese, US, and Christian Filipino individuals, communities, and governments. My study reveals that the gender and sexual politics of race, religion, and knowledge production rendered US and Japanese empires not only competitive but also complicit in settler colonialism in the Philippines. The settler colonialism led to the consolidation of a new racial, religious order in the Philippines dominated by Christian Filipinos. This Christian dominance that emerged in the colonial period has continuously shaped the postcolonial nation-state as a colonial legacy. Indigenous and Muslim women were intimately involved in the everyday life of Japanese settler communities and at the center of this intertwined dynamics of settler colonialism. My research will break new ground in the growing literature on imperialism, gender politics, and migration by problematizing dominant nation-state-based frameworks and enduring Euro-American centrism in the field of history and beyond.