Title

Picturing Forgotten Filipinos: Family Photographs Resisting U.S. Colonial Amnesia

Date

12-8-2020 11:45 AM

Abstract

The history of U.S. imperialism in the Philippines has led to the diasporic condition of U.S. colonial amnesia and systematic forgetting of history and its impact on the Filipinx community. With memories left unrecorded and voices of immigrants silenced, the Filipinx people have been considered lost to history. In this research, I will investigate the relationship between U.S. colonialism and imperialism in the Philippines and the experiences of Filipinx immigration to the U.S. through the lens of visual imagery. I will also be analyzing the affective power family photographs hold for the Filipinx community and how this is significant in pushing back against U.S. colonialism. Given that many of the experiences within the Filipinx diaspora in relation to the American Empire have been systematically forgotten and erased, my research question asks, how can family photographs of the Filipinx diaspora challenge and reinscribe harmful hegemonic U.S. colonial and imperial narratives of Filipinx subjectivities in America? Utilizing a combination of visual and feminist studies lenses, I will explore the ways family photographs taken of and by Filipinx people are powerful tools that build cultural memory and knowledge of Filipinx histories and subjectivities that have been attempted to be erased, forgotten, or misrepresented by the U.S. Empire. By utilizing a combination of semi-structured interviews and photo analysis as a form of visual storytelling, I argue that family photographs within the Filipinx diaspora reframe, challenge, and in certain instances resist hegemonic U.S. colonial and imperial narratives by holding memories of migration, loss, family belonging, and community across spatial and generational boundaries that have been attempted to be erased by the U.S. nation-state.

Biographies

Stevie Cadiz
Major: Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Social Science
In the Fall of 2020, I will graduate with my Bachelor of Science in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Social Science. As a first-generation Filipina college student and a daughter of immigrant parents, I bring with me the knowledge and strength of my Filipino community and histories. My Filipino roots have driven my current research in the McNair Scholars Program as I explore the politics of forgetting and U.S. neocolonial amnesia within the Filipino American diaspora through the lens of family photography. I am forever thankful for my mentor, Dr. Alma Trinidad, who has guided me through my research and shown me what it means to be a strong Pinay warrior, scholar, and activist. I am also grateful for the invaluable support from other mentors and professors who have helped me and encouraged me to accomplish my goals. I hope to further my education and pursue a PhD in Race and Ethnic Studies. I plan to dedicate my life’s work, both in academia and outside of it, to continue fighting for social and racial justice, advocating for the lives of the Filipino people, and raising awareness about systemic inequities that continue to harm marginalized communities.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alma Trinidad
Alma M. Ouanesisouk Trinidad, PhD, MSW is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at Portland State University (PSU). As a first generation college graduate and professional, born and raised on the island of Molokai, Hawai’i with family roots of Filipino immigration through the sugar and pineapple industries, she describes her voyage of serving the people and community as becoming a Pinay (Filipina) scholar warrior and guardian of kapu aloha (sacred love)/mahalaya (love and freedom). She earned her PhD in social welfare from the University of Washington, Seattle, her MSW from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her BSW from the University of Hawai’i, Manoa. She is a macro social worker and scholar activist. She brings an array of scholarly work and practice in community development and organizing, policy analysis, organizational culture and processes, and collective impact in the areas of health promotion and education among diverse communities, and building strong children, youth, and families. Her scholarly work focuses on critical Indigenous pedagogy of place youth empowerment, social determinants of health and education, youth and family participatory action research, social movements, and leadership and mentorship for social change. Other research and teaching interests include critical humanist design thinking, community practice, and culturally responsible research methods. Alma has passion for the arts, creative work, nature, and spirituality. Having mentored, informally and formally, youth to new colleagues in the field, Dr. Alma finds this work to be life changing and relational, always striving to build strong communities.

Disciplines

History | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/33583

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Aug 12th, 11:45 AM

Picturing Forgotten Filipinos: Family Photographs Resisting U.S. Colonial Amnesia

The history of U.S. imperialism in the Philippines has led to the diasporic condition of U.S. colonial amnesia and systematic forgetting of history and its impact on the Filipinx community. With memories left unrecorded and voices of immigrants silenced, the Filipinx people have been considered lost to history. In this research, I will investigate the relationship between U.S. colonialism and imperialism in the Philippines and the experiences of Filipinx immigration to the U.S. through the lens of visual imagery. I will also be analyzing the affective power family photographs hold for the Filipinx community and how this is significant in pushing back against U.S. colonialism. Given that many of the experiences within the Filipinx diaspora in relation to the American Empire have been systematically forgotten and erased, my research question asks, how can family photographs of the Filipinx diaspora challenge and reinscribe harmful hegemonic U.S. colonial and imperial narratives of Filipinx subjectivities in America? Utilizing a combination of visual and feminist studies lenses, I will explore the ways family photographs taken of and by Filipinx people are powerful tools that build cultural memory and knowledge of Filipinx histories and subjectivities that have been attempted to be erased, forgotten, or misrepresented by the U.S. Empire. By utilizing a combination of semi-structured interviews and photo analysis as a form of visual storytelling, I argue that family photographs within the Filipinx diaspora reframe, challenge, and in certain instances resist hegemonic U.S. colonial and imperial narratives by holding memories of migration, loss, family belonging, and community across spatial and generational boundaries that have been attempted to be erased by the U.S. nation-state.