Imperial remains : memories of the United States' occupation of the Philippines
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The history of the United States’ occupation in the Philippines requires an alternative archive that includes family stories, museums sites, and other memories to articulate the nearly inexplicable legacy of imperial trauma. My project foregrounds the intangible effects of American imperialism, traced in generational memories of Filipinos and Filipino Americans and their descendants. Addressing three key moments defining the Filipino and Filipino American experience: the Philippine-American War, World War II, and 21st century global capitalism, I look at how the under-the-surface, banal nature of imperial trauma’s legacy marks Filipino identity and creates blind spots in the Filipino imaginary. My dissertation examines sexual atrocities committed by American soldiers during the 1898-1902 Philippine-American War, revisits memories of World War II and the Japanese Occupation as represented in military museums in Fredericksburg, Texas and on Corregidor Island, Philippines, and concludes with the importance of the babaylan figure, from an ancient priestess tradition in the Philippines, for diasporic Filipinas to negotiate the contemporary challenges of everyday living. My dissertation examines the use of strategic storytelling to recover lost histories, heal from the past, and re-create the present.