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Letter from the Chair

Augusto F. Espiritu

Associate Professor of History
Associate Professor of Asian American Studies
HISTORY; Affiliated Faculty of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Affiliated Faculty of Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies
Center for Global Studies

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Areas of Specialization

Asian American Intellectuals, Transnationalism, post-Colonialism, Race and Gender, 1898 and American Empire


After 12 years of private Catholic education in the Philippines and the United States, I went to public higher education at UCLA and received all my advance degrees, including the doctorate in history, at this fabulous institution. I came to Illinois 13 years ago to join the History Department full time while also being among the first faculty to constitute the Department of Asian American Studies. I maintain a full-time agenda of research, teaching, and administrative leadership in view of my passion for bringing into dialogue the diverse fields of history, ethnic studies, Caribbean and Hispanic studies, and Southeast Asian studies.

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • American Empire, Hispanism, Asians in the Americas, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines

Research Description

  • I am interested in questions of interimperial relations, transnationalism, and subaltern resistance to hegemonic discourses of race, gender, class, progress, and civilization. As a subset of this larger concern, my current research focuses on how nationalist intellectuals from Latin America and Southeast Asia, especially from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines, deployed "Hispanism," viz. forms of affective, pro-Spanish discourse, as a mode of questioning, accommodating to, or resisting U.S. colonialism and Americanization, especially during the "American Century." I am fascinated by how Hispanism provides strong supports for projects of national identity formation, transnational solidarities, and anticolonial resistance, and am equally fascinated by its at times contradictory, discriminatory, and inegalitarian implications.


  • B.A., History; M.A., Asian American Studies; Ph.D, History, UCLA

Distinctions / Awards

  • Outstanding Asian American Faculty/Staff Award


  • Hewlett International Research Grant


  • History 572C Problems in US History since 1815: Transnationalism and Empire



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Book Contributions

  • Espiritu, Augusto. "The Japanese in the Filipino American Imagination." The Philippines and Japan under U.S. Shadow. . Ed. Yoshiko Nagano and Kiichi Fujiwara. Singapore: NUS Press, 2010.

  • Espiritu, Augusto. "Journeys of Discovery and Difference: Transnational Politics and the Union of Democratic Filipinos." Transnational Political Behavior and Asian Americans. . Ed. Pei-te Lien and Christian Collett. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009.

Journal Articles

  • "Inter-Imperial Relations, the Pacific, and Asian American History." Pacific Historical Review (2014):
  • Espiritu, Augusto. "Transnationalism and Filipino American Historiography." Journal of Asian American Studies 11.2 (2008): 171-185.
  • "'To Carry Water on Both Shoulders': Carlos P. Romulo, American Empire, and the Meaning of Bandung." Radical History Review (2006): 173-190.