I am a Research Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, where I also Supervise in World History. I was formerly a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. My broad research interests center on global intellectual history and Southeast Asian philosophy and modernities, with growing interests in posthumanism and the Anthropocene. My current research analyzes the relationship between, and co-constitution of, class and attitudes toward the natural environment in the Philippines, over the 19th to the 20th centuries.
I earned my Ph.D. with Distinction in Southeast Asian and International History at Yale University, with a major field in ‘Southeast Asian History 1800-Present’ and minor fields in ‘Empires and Imperialism’ and ‘Modern Japanese History’ under Profs. Ben Kiernan, Peter C. Perdue, and Dani Botsman, respectively; Profs. Ben Kiernan, James C. Scott, Caroline S. Hau, and Daniel Botsman formed my doctoral dissertation committee. I additionally hold M.Phil and M.A. degrees from Yale University in Southeast Asian and International History and a B.A. with Honors in History from the University of Pennsylvania.
My first book, to be published by Columbia University Press, charts the emplotment of ‘place’ in the proto-national thought and revolutionary organizing of turn-of-the-twentieth-century Filipino thinkers, and how their negotiations with and constructions of the place of ‘Asia’ and the spatial registers of race/Malayness connected them to their regional neighbors undertaking the same work. It unearths precisely what ground the Philippine nation has built itself upon intellectually, excavating its neglected cosmopolitan and transnational Asian moorings in particular, in order to reconnect Philippine history to that of Southeast Asia.
Based on my doctoral dissertation, my first book interrogates Southeast Asian reformulation and practice of Pan-Asianism at the turn of the twentieth century, in the face of Western imperial consolidation and the rise of Japan, comparing the contemporaneous Philippine and Vietnamese cases. It incorporates the “periphery” into our understanding of Pan-Asianism and presents Pan-Asianism as a network, practice, and translingual learning process—in addition to a discourse. In so doing, it aims to correct our exclusively intellectual historical and Northeast-Asia-centric understandings of Pan-Asianism. It shows that the First Philippine Republic’s foreign collaboration represents the first instance of fellow Pan-Asianists lending material aid toward anti-colonial revolution against a Western power (rather than overthrow of a domestic dynasty) and harnessing transnational Pan-Asian networks of support, activism, and association toward doing so. This material dimension is crucial to understanding the Pan-Asianism of the colonized “periphery” and to incorporating the periphery into this history. So too is the affective dimension, in which fantasies, imagination, and a certain emotionality formed much of the periphery’s engagement with the model of Meiji-era Japan and Asian solidarity. I argue for the importance of both dimensions as lenses through which the Pan-Asianism of the periphery can be recognized and made legible to the workings of the “center.”
Outside my academic work, I wrote a monthly opinion column for The Manila Times from 2013-2016. I worked for the Office of the Chief Economist and SERG at the Philippines’s Department of Finance from 2016-2017, shepherding the Economic Development Cluster’s priority reforms, and co-founded PAMPUBLIKO, a political discussion lab that seeks to reorient mainstream Philippine discourse away from personality politics and toward substantive policy discussion. My personal political advocacy centers on the press, the environment, and sex work in the Philippines.