Summer Reading 2013

New books from my friends

It’s always excited to celebrate the publishing of new books in Filipino Studies. It’s especially excited when the books are by dear friends and colleagues.

Associate Professor of History at San Francisco State University, Dawn B. Mabalon, just came out with her book, Little Manila is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American Community in Stockton, California.

Dawn and I met in the1990s when we were still graduate students and had the wonderful good fortune of sitting next to each other on a flight back from the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue (FIND)conference that took place at Harvard University. We instantly felt a deep sense of connection with each other as we commiserated about the struggles of being a woman of color in the academy and as we shared our shared commitment to using our scholarly training to give back to the Filipino community. We laughed. We cried. It was and continues to be one of the more memorable plane rides of my life. After landing, as we were getting our carry-on luggage organized, I asked Dawn where her family was from in the Philippines. She replied, “The Visayas.” I was excited. My family (on my mother’s side) is also Visayan. I pressed further, “Where in the Visayas?” “Aklan,” was Dawn’s answer. Now I was really excited. We are from Aklan too. I pressed even further, “Where in Aklan?” “Numancia.” I’m sure I probably screamed (people who know me well, know that I do that when I’m excited and it’s usually accompanied by jumping) because Numancia is my mother’s home town and the place I knew best growing up. We hugged each other tightly knowing that that ancestral connection had something to do with the feeling of connection we felt when we sat down next to each other at the Logan International Airport in Boston. We don’t get to see each other nearly as much as we should (especially now that we are on the same coast), but I’ve felt a closeness to Dawn and her work since our first meeting. I’m sure her humor and deep love for the Filipino community fo Stockton will be apparent in the pages of her book.

Also coming out this month is Vernadette V. Gonzalez’s book Securing Paradise: Tourism and Militarism in Hawai’i and the Philippines. She is an Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa. Vernadette and I not only met in graduate school and became friends, we also collaborated on two major projects while we were both at UC Berkeley (Dette was in Ethnic Studies, I was in the Sociology department). The first piece we worked on was a book chapter entitled, “ Wives, Workers and Whores on the Cyberfrontier” in Asian Ethnicity, Nationalism and Cyberspace. That essay got republished in An Introduction to Women’s Studies: Gender in a Transnational World by Inderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan. The second was, “Asian American Auto / Biographies: The Gendered Limits of Consumer Citizenship in Import Subcultures,” a book chapter in Alien Encounters: Popular Culture in Asian America edited by Mimi Nguyen and Thuy Tu. I had a fantastic time working with Vernadette. I attribute my development as an Ethnic Studies and Feminist Studies scholar in part to our working relationship. She challenged my somewhat narrow disciplinary sensibilities and introduced me to a whole host of scholars that I was not reading in my PhD program. Vernadette is incredibly sharp and I’m sure the book will make huge ripples in the field.

My work

My book may not be as fun as Dawn’s and Vernadette’s but it may intrigue some of you. I will be posting on my book, Migrants for Export on my blog. I’ll elaborate more on academic terms that non-academic readers may not be familiar with as well as some provide some “behind the scenes” discussion on my field research. Please make sure to send me an email if you have specific questions.