[Blueboard] KRITIKA KULTURA LECTURE SERIES, 26 August 2005

Department of English Department at admu.edu.ph
Mon Aug 15 08:37:39 PHT 2005


Kritika Kultura
and the Department of English


A View from Somewhere: 
Filipino Americans and the Geographies of Racial and Ethnic Identity

26 August 2005
4:30-6:00 pm
Natividad Galang Fajardo Conference Room
Horacio de la Costa Building

The notion that Filipinos are a racially and culturally hybrid people of 
Spanish, Chinese, and “native Filipino” descent is often evoked by Filipino 
Americans in response to concerns regarding Filipino identity, ubiquitously 
posed in the question What does it mean to be Filipino? Based on 10 months of 
ethnographic research with Filipino Americans in New York City, this paper 
interrogates the notion of “Filipino hybridity” by examining my respondents’ 
claims to Asian and Spanish identity. I situate these claims in relation to 
two place- and space- based contexts: Asian American identity politics as 
localized in the spatial hierarchy of New York as a neoliberal city and New 
York as a “Latinized” city. I consider my respondents’ claims to hybridity as 
ways of negotiating between the everyday racial hierarchies and forms of race 
thinking they confront in such contexts. Rather than merely posing an obstacle 
to Filipino American subjectivity, I argue that these negotiations are 
constitutive of that subjectivity. They therefore challenge yet another set of 
claims regarding Filipino identity that I will discuss in the this paper: that 
of “non-identity,” or the assertion that Filipinos in New York City (and the 
East Coast in general) lack a sense of Filipino ethnic identity. I situate 
this latter claim within the geography of academic production of Filipino 
Studies in the United States, which has heretofore been guided by institutions 
and individuals writing from, and about, Filipino American collectivities on 
the West Coast. Thus, to be Filipino in America is, in part, to maneuver 
through a geography of racial and ethnic relations formed at the everyday 
interstices of history, economy, culture, institutions, and intellectual 
production and consumption.

This paper will present three theoretical threads useful for understanding 
Filipino American identity construction in New York City. The first is the 
production of space – especially “Asian ethnic space” – in a city in which 
culture has emerged as an important tool for developers and investors to 
support and make visible ethnic neighborhoods, favoring some groups over 
others. The second is the possibility of understanding Filipino Americans in 
relation to Latin Americans and the Latin American master social concept of 
mestizaje. Finally, I consider the importance and effect of the academic 
regionalism of Filipino Studies in the U.S. on Filipino Americans’ 
identifications and self-representation. 

Jan Maghinay Padios, Henry MacCracken Fellow, is a doctoral student in the 
American Studies Program at New York University where she also earned her 
Master’s Degree in May 2005. She received her undergraduate degree from 
Columbia University in 2001. Padios’ academic work has been primarily in the 
fields of Critical Geography and Filipino Studies. She is currently in 
residence at the Ateneo, researching possible dissertation topics on the 
culture of consumption in the Philippines. 

Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University
Katipunan Road, Loyola Heights,
Quezon City 1108 Metro Manila
426-6001 local 5310/5311

More information about the Blueboard mailing list