Metroimperial Intimacies

Fantasy, Racial-Sexual Governance, and the Philippines in U.S. Imperialism, 1899-1913

Metroimperial Intimacies

Perverse Modernities: A Series Edited by Jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe

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Book Pages: 312 Illustrations: 18 illustrations Published: December 2015

American Studies, Asian American Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Queer Theory

In Metroimperial Intimacies Victor Román Mendoza combines historical, literary, and archival analysis with queer-of-color critique to show how U.S. imperial incursions into the Philippines enabled the growth of unprecedented social and sexual intimacies between native Philippine and U.S. subjects. The real and imagined intimacies—whether expressed through friendship, love, or eroticism—threatened U.S. gender and sexuality norms. To codify U.S. heteronormative behavior, the colonial government prohibited anything loosely defined as perverse, which along with popular representations of Filipinos, regulated colonial subjects and depicted them as sexually available, diseased, and degenerate. Mendoza analyzes laws, military records, the writing of Philippine students in the United States, and popular representations of Philippine colonial subjects to show how their lives, bodies, and desires became the very battleground for the consolidation of repressive legal, economic, and political institutions and practices of the U.S. colonial state. By highlighting the importance of racial and gendered violence in maintaining control at home and abroad, Mendoza demonstrates that studies of U.S. sexuality must take into account the reach and impact of U.S. imperialism.


"... Metroimperial Intimacies demonstrates the multifaceted ways in which the United States attempted to manage the chaotic categories of race and sex in the new colony. Although not the first scholar to examine political cartoons and pensionado writing, Mendoza treads new ground in his attention to how male same-sex intimacy registered in these genres, enlarging our understanding of how colonial anxieties about race and sex shaped the social, legal, and cultural spaces of U.S.–Philippine relations." — Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"Victor Román Mendoza demonstrates that the history of American empire in the early-twentieth century Philippines can indeed be queered through intrepid research and savvy analysis. . . . [T]he analysis ranges from pathbreaking to brilliant." — Kristin Hoganson, Canadian Journal of History

"At his best, Mendoza extracts rich detail from his sources, adding lucidity and evidential weight to his theoretical sophistication.... Mendoza paves the way for important future work." — Tom Smith, History

"... [A] significant contribution to US empire, Philippine, and gender and sexuality studies. . . .  [A] book whose many revelations will appeal to queer, postcolonial, and Asian/American studies scholars alike." — Martin Joseph Ponce, Journal of the History of Sexuality

"Using a queer of color critique, Metroimperial Intimacies provides an innovative and much-needed study of social and sexual intimacies within the context of the early years of U.S. imperial colonialism in the Philippines." — Genevieve Clutario, Journal of American History

"This monograph forges an intersection of US imperial history, queer of color critique, and critical ethnic studies. . . . This work richly builds on the existent literature on US imperialism." — Mark John Sanchez, History: Reviews of New Books

"Metroimperial Intimacies is a magisterial work of cultural and historical scholarship, and one of the best books about Philippine cultural exigencies in the early twentieth century to come out in recent years. Wielding an expert and elegant hand, Victor Román Mendoza deploys a queer of color perspective and relocates it outside of American shores into its colonial frontier. An exciting, intricately argued, and pathbreaking book, Metroimperial Intimacies marks a major turn." — Martin F. Manalansan IV, author of Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora

"In this deft and thought-provoking book, Victor Román Mendoza sets forth detailed and lucidly theorized accounts of archives of neglected state and cultural intimacies that move from the colony to the imperial metropole, from the Philippine-American War to its afterlife within the broader iterations of U.S. empire. Tracking the manifold uses to which genres of fantasy-making were deployed during the period, Mendoza shows how sexual and racial fantasies founded the emergence and resilience of U.S. empire. This move radically centers Philippine colonial history as not peripheral to studies of U.S. empire, but indeed as constitutive of its very heteromasculine and genocidal form."  — Anjali Arondekar, author of For the Record: On Sexuality and the Colonial Archive in India


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Victor Román Mendoza is Assistant Professor of Women's Studies and English at the University of Michigan.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix

Introduction  1

1. Racial-Sexual Governance and the U.S. Colonial State in the Philippines  35

2. Unmentionable Liberties: A Racial-Sexual Differend in the U.S. Colonial Philippines  63

3. Menacing Receptivity: Philippine Insurrectos and the Sublime Object of Metroimperial Visual Culture  95

4. The Sultan of Sulu's Epidemic of Intimacies  131

5. Certain Peculiar Temptations: Little Brown Students and Racial-Sexual Governance in the Metropole  167

Conclusion  203

Notes  211

Bibliography  259

Index  279
Sales/Territorial Rights: World exc Philippines

Rights and licensing

Finalist, Philippines National Book Award, Best Book in History category

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6034-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6019-3
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