augustespiritu - Transnationalism and Filipino American...

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Transnationalism and Filipino American Historiography Augusto Espiritu Journal of Asian American Studies, Volume 11, Number 2, June 2008, pp. 171-184 (Article) Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press DOI: 10.1353/jaas.0.0005 For additional information about this article Access Provided by University of California @ Irvine at 09/27/10 6:18PM GMT http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jaas/summary/v011/11.2.espiritu.html
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TRANSNATIONALISM AND FILIPINO AMERICAN HISTORIOGRAPHY TRANSNATIONALISM AND FILIPINO AMERICAN HISTORIOGRAPHY augusto espiritu I N THE LAST FEW YEARS , FILIPINO AMERICAN historical studies seems to have emerged, propelled by the growing influence of post-colonial, Empire, and transnational studies upon this subfield. 1 Indeed, there has been a great deal of talk about such influences. My own personal predilections are exactly in that direction, although I am careful that the field does not lose sight of the racial, multicultural, and social conditions from which “Asian American” history emerged. Indeed, this paper shows that it is perhaps premature to ascertain the direction the field has taken and that the labels “transnational” and “post-colonial” might have been applied a little too hastily to Filipino American historical works. Indeed, it is clear from the foregoing examination that though most historians of Filipino Americans are mindful of such developments, not everyone has adopted these paradigms. Many are continuing to draw from more traditional approaches to race, gender, and class in the American context. I argue that this is not necessarily a disadvantage so long as there is an evolving dialogue, exchange, and understanding between “old” and “new” methodologies that fosters intellectual growth. For a long time, professional historians of Filipino America were few and far between. Without counting the works of Ronald Takaki, Sucheng Chan, and other “generalists,” 2 the only professionally trained historian in the field was Barbara Posadas of Northern Illinois University, whose JAAS JUNE 2008 • 171–184 © THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY PRESS
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172 JAAS 11:2 landmark studies of Filipino labor, immigration, student life, cross-ra- cial sex, and mixed race in Chicago paved the way for many of us future historians. 3 Posadas has not yet gathered these essays, published in vari- ous journals, into book form. Particularly in her studies of pensionados , students sponsored by the colonial government, it is clear that Posadas was aware of the importance of transnationality and did her research in both U.S. as well as Philippine archives, especially in English-language sources. Nonetheless, Posadas’s work is concerned with explicating the emergence of Filipino American identity, and as such, her approach was typical of social historians who utilized a race, class, and gender analysis and generally saw Philippine developments in light of U.S. labor and im- migration history.
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This note was uploaded on 12/13/2010 for the course ASIANAM ASIANAM 10 taught by Professor Jameskyung-jinlee during the Fall '10 term at UC Irvine.

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augustespiritu - Transnationalism and Filipino American...

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