Metroimperial Intimacies

In Metroimperial Intimacies Victor Román Mendoza combines historical, literary, and archival analysis with queer-of-color critique to show how U.S. imperial incursions into the Philippines enabled the growth of unprecedented social and sexual intimacies between native Philippine and U.S. subjects. The real and imagined intimacies—whether expressed through friendship, love, or eroticism—threatened U.S. gender and sexuality norms. To codify U.S. heteronormative behavior, the colonial government prohibited anything loosely defined as perverse, which along with popular representations of Filipinos, regulated colonial subjects and depicted them as sexually available, diseased, and degenerate. Mendoza analyzes laws, military records, the writing of Philippine students in the United States, and popular representations of Philippine colonial subjects to show how their lives, bodies, and desires became the very battleground for the consolidation of repressive legal, economic, and political institutions and practices of the U.S. colonial state. By highlighting the importance of racial and gendered violence in maintaining control at home and abroad, Mendoza demonstrates that studies of U.S. sexuality must take into account the reach and impact of U.S. imperialism.

“Metroimperial Intimacies is a magisterial work of cultural and historical scholarship, and one of the best books about Philippine cultural exigencies in the early twentieth century to come out in recent years. Wielding an expert and elegant hand, Victor Román Mendoza deploys a queer-of-color perspective and relocates it outside of American shores into its colonial frontier. An exciting, intricately argued, and pathbreaking book, Metroimperial Intimacies marks a major turn.”

MARTIN F. MANALANSAN IV, author of Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora

“In this deft and thought-provoking book, Victor Román Mendoza sets forth detailed and lucidly theorized accounts of archives of neglected state and cultural intimacies that move from the colony to the imperial metropole, from the Philippine-American War to its afterlife within the broader iterations of U.S. empire. Tracking the manifold uses to which genres of fantasy-making were deployed during the period, Mendoza shows how sexual and racial fantasies founded the emergence and resilience of U.S. empire. This move radically centers Philippine colonial history as not peripheral to studies of U.S. empire, but indeed as constitutive of its very heteromasculine and genocidal form.”

ANJALI ARONDEKAR, author of For the Record: On Sexuality and the Colonial Archive in India

About the Author

Victor Román Mendoza is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and English, with appointments in the Department of American Culture, the Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies Program, and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.