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Presented By: Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies

EIHS Lecture: The Invention of the Homeland: Racial Violence, Repatriation, and the Philippine Settler State

Adrian De Leon (University of Southern California)

Adrian de Leon Adrian de Leon
Adrian de Leon
What does it mean to go back home? By following the roots of the return migrant (Tagalog: balikbayan) in the early twentieth century, this talk argues that US statecraft in the Philippines attempted to co-opt value from emigrants through the repatriation of labor and capital, to be used to fortify the territorial claims of the colonial state. In turn, these lands are reframed by the state as the birthright of overseas Filipinos who yearn to connect with their roots. The simultaneity of migrant capture and settler colonialism coalesced around a new cultural-economic form that defines twentieth-century nationhood: the homeland.

Adrian De Leon is the author of Bundok: A Hinterland History of Filipino America (University of North Carolina Press, 2023). His next project, Balikbayan: The Invention of the Filipino Homeland, is under contract with the University of Washington Press. With PBS Digital Studios, he co-hosted two programs, including Historian’s Take (2022), which was nominated for a Daytime Emmy and an NAACP Image Award. He is an assistant professor of Asian American studies at the University of Southern California and the Farley Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Simon Fraser University. In Fall 2024, he will join the Department of History at New York University.

This event presented by the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible in part by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.

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