This talk will be presented by the second candidate for the American Studies Filipino/a American Studies search.
Jose Garcia Villa’s Love Affair with God: On Race, Gender, Sexuality and Filipino American (Im)possibilities
Focusing on the modernist poetry of Jose Garcia Villa, this talk explores the contradictions of the Philippine Commonwealth period, the granting of the archipelago’s independence in 1946, and the beginnings of Filipino America and its literature. Analyzing the highly sexualized representations of Filipino immigrants during the debates over the passage of the Tydings McDuffie Act as well as the rash of anti-Filipino riots up and down the west coast in the 1920s and 30s, Professor Solomon demonstrates how US recognition of Philippine sovereignty was not the advent of liberation. Rather, the focus on Filipino sexuality that fueled the passage of Tydings McDuffie racialized, sexualized, and gendered Filipinos in America in violently dehumanizing ways. Against this background, she traces the erotic moments in Jose Garcia Villa’s divine lyrics, moments that break down the racialized hierarchies between genders, sexualities, and nations, calling into question what constitutes the human and the divine and suggesting the productive (im)possibilities of Filipino American poetics and politics.
Amanda Lee A. Solomon received her PhD in Literature in 2011 from the University of California at San Diego. She specializes in Asian Pacific American literature generally and Filipino American cultural studies specifically. Currently, she is associated faculty at UCSD’s Literature and Ethnic Studies Departments. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Kuya Ate Mentorship Program, a non-profit educational organization focused on intergenerational mentorship, social justice, and bringing critical Filipino American Studies to the local San Diego community.