Filipino American History Month Reading List

Filipino American History Month recognizes the culture and migration of Filipinos, through stories of religious, musical, and educational influences, and the working class, as they travel to the United States. Celebrate the cultural influence of Filipino Americans and Filipino migrants on American culture with this carefully selected list of titles.

Manifest Technique: Hip Hop, Empire, and Visionary Filipino American Culture

By Mark R. Villegas

Filipino Americans have been innovators and collaborators in hip hop since the culture’s early days. But despite the success of artists like Apl.de.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas and superstar producer Chad Hugo, the genre’s significance in Filipino American communities is often overlooked. Mark R. Villegas considers sprawling coast-to-coast hip hop networks to reveal how Filipino Americans have used music, dance, and visual art to create their worlds.

Queering the Global Filipina Body: Contested Nationalisms in the Filipina/o Diaspora

By Gina K. Velasco

Contemporary popular culture stereotypes Filipina women as sex workers, domestic laborers, mail order brides, and caregivers. Gina K. Velasco explores the tensions within Filipina/o American cultural production between feminist and queer critiques of the nation and popular nationalism as a form of resistance to neoimperialism and globalization.

Journal of American Ethnic History Vol. 32, No. 2 (Winter 2013)

Transnationalism and Higher Education: Four Filipino Chicago Case Studies

Barbara M. Posadas

Over the last three decades, we have come to know much about Filipinos that differs from the traditional image: to single, young men, we have added women and families; to unskilled workers, intellectuals and professionals; to transient, rural migrants, thriving urban communities; and to those without direction, participants in social and religious movements. 

The Labor of Care: Filipina Migrants and Transnational Families in the Digital Age

By Valerie Francisco-Menchavez

For generations, migration moved in one direction at a time: migrants to host countries, and money to families left behind. The Labor of Care argues that globalization has changed all that. Drawing on interviews and up-close collaboration with working migrant women, Valerie Francisco-Menchavez looks at the sacrifices, emotional and material consequences, and recasting of roles that emerge from family separation.

Ethnomusicology Vol. 47, No. 1 (Winter, 2003)

José Maceda and the Paradoxes of Modern Composition in Southeast Asia

By Michael Tenzer

During the early and mid-twentieth century, the cultivation of contemporary art music composition in urban centers throughout Asia, Africa and South America created new cultural contexts for Western music.

Islanders in the Empire: Filipino and Puerto Rican Laborers in Hawai‘i

By Joanna Poblete

In the early 1900s, workers from newly instated U.S. colonies in the Philippines and Puerto Rico held unusual legal status. As a result, Filipinos and Puerto Ricans could seek jobs in the United States and its territories despite the anti-immigration policies in place at the time. JoAnna Poblete’s Islanders in the Empire: Filipino and Puerto Rican Laborers in Hawai’i takes an in-depth look at how the two groups fared in a third new colony, Hawai’i.

Ethnomusicology Vol. 60, No. 3 (Fall 2016)

Asian Fury: A Tale of Race, Rock, and Air Guitar

Sydney Hutchinson

Asian and Asian American competitors of air guitar used their one-minute stage performances to comment ironically on the emasculation of Asian males and the infantilization of Asian females through the construct of “Asian fury.” 

The Work of Mothering: Globalization and the Filipino Diaspora

By Harrod J. Suarez

Women make up a majority of the Filipino workforce laboring overseas. Harrod J. Suarez’s innovative readings of this cultural production explores issues of diaspora, gender, and labor. He details the ways literature and cinema play critical roles in encountering, addressing, and problematizing what we think we know about overseas Filipina workers. 

Journal of American Ethnic History Vol. 34, No. 4 (Summer 2015)

Nation of Migrants, Historians of Migration

Adam Goodman

The history of Southeast Asian, Filipino, or Central American migration to the United States cannot be understood without close attention to the history of U.S. imperialism and intervention abroad, in addition to local, national, and regional contexts, not to mention macro-historical processes. 

Ethnomusicology Vol. 30, No. 2 (Spring – Summer, 1986)

Change and Differentiation: The Adoption of Black American Gospel Music in the Catholic Church

By Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje

To evaluate and understand fully the impact that gospel music has made on the Catholic church where blacks are represented, it was decided to examine the use of gospel in a variety of religious settings.

Building Filipino Hawai‘i

By Roderick N. Labrador

Drawing on ten years of interviews and ethnographic and archival research, Building Filipino Hawai’i delves into the ways Filipinos in Hawai’i have balanced their pursuit of upward mobility and mainstream acceptance with a desire to keep their Filipino identity. Critiquing the image of Hawai’i as a postracial paradise, Roderick N. Labrador reveals the ways Filipino immigrants talk about their relationships to the place(s) they left and the place(s) where they’ve settled, and how these discourses shape their identities. 

Women, Gender, and Families of Color Vol. 5, No. 2 (Fall 2017)

Diasporic Filipinx Queerness, Female Affective Labor, and Queer Heterosocial Relationalities in Letters to Montgomery Clift

By Thomas X. Sarmiento

With the narrow loss of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s bid for the Philippine vice presidency in 2016, thirty years after his late father’s authoritarian regime crumbled, and with ongoing dissent against the senior Marcos’s burial later that year in the national cemetery for heroes, the ghosts of martial law continue to haunt the Philippines and its U.S. diaspora. 

Legitimizing Empire: Filipino American and U.S. Puerto Rican Cultural Critique

By Faye Caronan

When the United States acquired the Philippines and Puerto Rico, it reconciled its status as an empire with its anticolonial roots by claiming that it would altruistically establish democratic institutions in its new colonies. Ever since, Filipino and Puerto Rican artists have challenged promises of benevolent assimilation, instead portraying U.S. imperialism as both self-interested and unexceptional among empires.

Journal of American Ethnic History Vol. 34, No. 4 (Summer 2015)

A Part and Apart: Asian American and Immigration History

By Erika Lee

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans were labeled as members of an “enemy race” and forcibly removed and incarcerated, while Chinese, Filipino, and Indian Americans were held up as “good Asians,” whose homelands were U.S. allies.

Fighting from a Distance: How Filipino Exiles Helped Topple a Dictator

By Jose V. Fuentecilla

During February 1986, a grassroots revolution overthrew the fourteen-year dictatorship of former president Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. In this book, Jose V. Fuentecilla describes how Filipino exiles and immigrants in the United States played a crucial role in this victory, acting as the overseas arm of the opposition that helped return their country to democracy.  In the process, he draws from multiple hours of interviews with the principal activists, personal files of resistance leaders, and U.S. government records revealing the surveillance of the resistance by pro-Marcos White House administrations.

Women, Gender, and Families of Color Vol. 3, No. 2 (Fall 2015)

(De)Militarized Domesticity: Reconfiguring Marriage, Gender, and Family among Filipino Navy Couples

By Theresa C. Suarez

Through 60 interviews conducted with immigrant Filipino Navy families in San Diego in ’04-’05, the author examines how the U.S. military transformed conceptions of race, gender, and family and reconfigured these structures by regulating and authorizing certain notions of intimacy, marriage, motherhood/fatherhood, and family life based on an ideal of white bourgeois domesticity.