The Filipino Subjunctive: A Transpacific Counterhistory of the Philippine Commonwealth

When and Where

Thursday, January 12, 2023 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Room 208N (2nd floor, North House)
Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
1 Devonshire Place, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3K7


Adrian De Leon Assistant Professor of American Studies & Ethnicity, University of Southern California


In the Philippines, the United States’ first overseas colony, direct occupation had supposedly come to an end with Filipinization: the appropriation of native leadership into colonial governance. But Filipinization also informed the everyday conduct and political imaginations of those outside of structures of power, namely, migrant workers across the Pacific. In this talk, I suggest that American counterinsurgency informed how people across the Pacific imagined how the future citizens of an independent Philippines might behave. This provisional subject—the Filipino subjunctive—emerges from these transnational imaginaries, and the creative labors of everyday life. Together, this fledgling community asked: What would it look like to become Filipino, and who would pay the price to make this nation yet-to-come?
Along with Prof. De Leon’s talk, there will be a graduate student luncheon held at 12:00-1:45pm; location: TBD. For this graduate luncheon, students will have the opportunity to engage in informal conversation with Professor De Leon to discuss all things graduate school-related including writing, fellowship applications, publishing in journals, selecting post-docs, hitting the job market as a graduate of a Canadian institution, opportunities for PhDs beyond traditional academic presses, and other general advice. Those interested in registering for this lunch should email Melanie Ng at Attendance will be restricted to U of T graduate students.  
Adrian De Leon is an award-winning writer and public historian at the University of Southern California, where he is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity. A graduate of the History Department at U of T, his dissertation was recognized with the Governor’s Gold Medal in 2020. He is also a host for PBS Digital Studios and the Center for Asian American Media. His first academic book, Bundok: A Hinterland History of Filipino America, is forthcoming with the University of North Carolina Press.

PDF iconJan 12 2023_Talk with Adrian De Leon.pdf

Contact Information


Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies, co-sponsored by the Southeast Asia Seminar Series at the Asian Institute