American Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 8-1-2023


Throughout this dissertation, I argue that US imperial knowledge production affirms US exceptionalism by disavowing the imperial violence wrought on the Philippines and its people. This disavowal not only renders the Philippines and Filipinx bodies illegible, but also haunts the Filipinx American diaspora. I argue that the haunted logics of empire are a set of relations, rather than specters of specific times and places, in which knowledge and power work together to continually produce and reproduce a specific and limiting reality and sensorium through which to view the world. In my interrogation of empire’s haunted logics, I not only look at the ways in which the Filipinx and the Philippines is rendered unknowable, but also how Filipinx Americans in the contemporary period encounter, work through, ignore, negotiate, come to terms with, and imagine beyond this haunting through their relationship to its spectral evidence. I look at cultural production as a space where the materiality of Filipinx America’s haunting – the spectral evidence – can be sensed through ghosts, ugly affects, memories in the flesh, and symphonies of rage. More specifically, I am interested in how Filipinx America becomes aware of the aesthetics of empire’s haunting – the very principles and values that empire demands we believe and adhere to, and which shape our visual, sonic, sensory, temporal, and spatial experiences of this world. I offer Filipinx American critique as a way to name the critical discourse that emerges from empire’s spectral evidence. Filipinx American critique disrupts epistemological formations that mark Filipinx American being through dismissal, disavowal, silencing, erasure, or assimilation and provides an opportunity for imagining genealogies of Filipinx being in the past, present and future that exist beyond haunting narratives of empire.




Filipinx America, Empire, Haunting, Queer of Color Critique, Cultural Production, Aesthetics

Document Type


Degree Name

American Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

American Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Rebecca Schreiber

Second Committee Member

Francisco Galarte

Third Committee Member

Antonio T. Tiongson, Jr.

Fourth Committee Member

Danika Medak-Saltzman

Fifth Committee Member

Sarita See