I was born in Los Angeles, CA, and grew up in various locations in Southern (Orange County) and Northern (the Bay) California. After receiving my B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles, I worked as a community educator in San Francisco before returning to UCLA for graduate studies. Before moving to the English department at the University of Toronto, I was an assistant professor of English and American Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington.
In my published and current research, I use spatial and geographic formations (from the transpacific, to the regional, to the Global South) to examine previously unstudied archives (from the first works of English literature by Filipina and Filipino authors, to private papers that document connections between the Midwest and U.S. empire, to fashion shows in Manila). I contend that this combined analytical and archival approach extends our understanding of the importance of national, regional, transnational, and global dynamics in the United States, the Philippines, and Asia. As a feminist scholar, I am especially interested in examining how these interactions have historically impacted and continue to influence constructions of gender and sexuality. My first book, Transpacific Femininities: The Making of the Modern Filipina (Duke University Press, 2012), analyzed connections between the rise of Philippine print culture in English and the emergence of new classes of transpacific women from the early to the mid-twentieth century. I claim that this period was dominated by a fascination with transpacific Asian women—figures who were connected to both nationalist movements in Asia and the global women's suffrage movement. While Transpacific Femininities centers on Filipina and Filipino literature and culture, ultimately, the book tracks geopolitical transitions and presents a new way of thinking about gendered productions, space, and constructions of a feminized Asia. I am currently working on two book projects: a study of Philippine global couture and its connections to the Global South, and an analysis of the importance of regions and regionalism to Asian America. Fueled by my research, my courses complicate the geographic, chronological, and disciplinary parameters that shape the study of twentieth and twenty-first century American, ethnic American, Asian American, and Philippine literature and culture.