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Filipino Academics on the U.S. Mainland: Colonial Students in the 1920s–1930s

Sun, April 15, 8:15 to 9:45am, New York Marriott Marquis, Fourth Floor, Ziegfeld


Today, Filipino students are often discussed as “invisible minorities.” Framing Filipino students as such is an ahistorical attempt that erases the longstanding presence of Filipino students in the US, evading accountability to these students. In this paper, I underscore the experiences of Filipino students in the 1920s-1930s to demonstrate their struggles and persistence in postsecondary institutions. I synthesize Filipino and American history with archived interviews of pensionados and manongs. By examining their lives, I problematize the erasure of Filipinos in historical accounts of higher education, obscuring the long-standing existence of their narratives in school contexts. Their stories call for the improvement of the education of the fastest-growing Asian population, especially amid today’s political, social and economic climate.


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