Intimate Encounter of (Il)legible Subjects and Empires in a “Frontier” Space: Settler Colonialism in the Northern Luzon in the US Colonial Philippines

Authors: Eri Kitada*,
Topics: Gender, Ethnicity and Race, Asia
Keywords: gender, intimacy, settler colonialism, migration, empire, frontier, the Philippines, Japan
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: 8226, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The recent literature has increasingly enriched theoretical frames such as frontier/borderlands and settler colonialism and revealed their gendered and sexed dimensions, but the literature may have not yet posed epistemological questions: what counts as a case of settler colonialism and who counts as the colonizer and the colonized. This paper traces the history and legacy of Japanese settlement in a “frontier” of US colonial Philippines, in order to compare and connect US and Japanese imperialisms and to discuss the history of settler colonialism in the Philippines, which remains outside the debates of settler colonialism as an overseas colony of US empire (and Spanish empire). I will explore Japanese settler men’s intermarriage with indigenous women and Japanese-Filipino families. The examination of the Japanese settler community illuminates the imperial collaboration of US and Japanese empires and the colonial configuration of racial, religious hierarchies in the Philippines dominated by Christian Filipinos. This study of an underexplored subject will unpack several epistemological problems of the scholarship on frontier/borderlands and settler colonialism and offers a useful insight to the existing literature: intertwined nature of imperialism, racism of the non-Euro-American empire, and minority problem of postcolonial nations as a colonial legacy.

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