Imperial Unions: Romantic and Sexual Relationships between Americans and Filipinos in the U.S. and the Philippines, 1898-1946


January 12, 2017



Over the course of the American occupation of the Philippines, hundreds of thousands of Americans migrated to the islands while tens of thousands of Filipinos migrated to the U.S. Migrants going both ways were largely male, and they frequently engaged in romantic and sexual relationships with local women. Throughout the occupation, people discussed these unions as metaphors, unintended byproducts, and irreconcilable problems of the imperial relationship. This lecture will focus on the policies that alternately enabled and constrained such relationships, and the ways that individuals navigated them in an effort to live their lives.  

About the lecturer 

Allison Wells is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Iowa in the United States and  a Visiting Research Associate at the Institute of Philippine Culture. Her dissertation, “Close Encounters: Romantic and Sexual Relationships between Americans and Filipinos in the American Empire, 1898-1946,” examines U.S. imperialism in the Philippines through the lens of gender and sexuality. She also has a certificate in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and focuses on the relationship between gender and empire in her teaching and research. 

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