Putting on a Show
This introductory chapter situates Filipino/a performing bodies, specifically Filipino/a theater, within the contexts of nation building and community formation, and highlights the imbrication of Filipino/a racialization with histories of colonialism and imperialism. It tracks the emergence of the Filipino/a performing body as it negotiates key historical events: the U.S. acquisition of the Philippines as a colony in the late nineteenth century; the dawn of Philippine independence (1920s–1930s); the tumultuous years of the Martial Law (1972–1981); and the closure of U.S. military bases. In addition, the chapter briefly narrates the story of Filipino/a invisibility. For decades, U.S. imperial pursuits were euphemistically cast in the language of globalism, internationalism, and protectionism. U.S. control of the Philippines and other unincorporated territories was rarely described as aggressive international occupation; instead, the United States was hailed as a forceful new nation, benevolent in its foreign relations.
Keywords: Filipino performing bodies, Filipino theater, nation building, community formation, Filipino racialization, colonialism, imperialism, Filipino invisibility, United States of America, Philippines
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