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Reclaiming Filipino America through Performance and Film

Author:

Marlo Jessica de Lara

University of Leeds, GB
About Marlo

Doctoral Candidate

CentreCATH,

Department of Fine Art, History of Art, and Cultural Studies

University of Leeds

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Psychosocial Studies, Cultural Studies, and Sound Arts

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Abstract

Filipino Americans are the fourth largest migrant group in America and the second largest Asian population in the United States. Migration from the Philippines is constant and has increased dramatically in the last sixty years. Filipino Americans participate as the ‘Asian American’ identity/race but the specificity of Philippine-U.S. relations and migration pathways make this inclusion a misfit. As a former territory and with complex shifting migration policies, Filipinos have been considered by the US government an ambiguous population, falling just out of reach of national visibility. As the population has continued to grow, Filipino Americans have shared narratives and begun conversation to address the constant cultural negotiation and struggles within the social and racial structures of America.

Since the 1980s, a Filipino American cultural and artistic movement or ‘moment’, has emerged with artists, dancers, performers, and filmmakers. These artists make critical interventions that disavow the American empire. The works make comment upon the ramifications of being an unrecognized Asian colony and the systemic challenges of immigration assimilation. The works make comment upon the ramifications of being an unrecognized Asian colony and the systemic challenges of immigration assimilation. An example of a work from this cultural moment is Jose Antonio Vargas autobiographical documentary Documented (2013). The film, intended as an up close and personal account of an undocumented migrant in the United States, also serves as an example of current Filipino American cultural productivity and visibilization. By studying this artistic movement, one can approach deeper understandings of citizenship and national belonging(s) in the current transnational climate and the border crossings that circumscribe the Filipino American diaspora. 

How to Cite: de Lara, M.J., (2017). Reclaiming Filipino America through Performance and Film. JOMEC Journal. (11), pp.41–53. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/j.2017.10142
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Published on 06 Jul 2017.
Peer Reviewed

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