Aoki Center/HistoryDepartment Collaboration - The Free People of Color Lecture Series: Jane Hong "Manila Prepares for Independence: Filipina/o Campaigns for U.S. Citizenship on the Eve of Philippine Decolonization"

Professor Jane Hong, Occidental College "Manila Prepares for Independence: Filipina/o Campaigns for U.S. Citizenship on the Eve of Philippine Decolonization" This talk explores the Philippine Commonwealth Government’s role in the success of the 1946 Luce-Celler Act’s provisions making Filipina/os eligible for U.S. citizenship for the first time. Drawing from U.S. and Philippine archives, it charts how Philippine officials championed the legislation as part of their preparations for Philippine independence after World War II. They recognized the importance of Filipina/o communities in the United States—and their remittances—to Philippine state-building after independence and sought to cultivate strong diasporic ties that transcended the limits of formal citizenship. As part of the longer transpacific movement to repeal Asian exclusion, the Philippine campaign speaks to the ambivalent relationship between Asian and Asian American freedom struggles, and exclusion and empire, in the postwar period. Jane Hong is associate professor of history at Occidental College. She received her PhD in history from Harvard University and is the author of Opening the Gates to Asia: A Transpacific History of How America Repealed Asian Exclusion, published by UNC Press in 2019. Her current project considers how post-1965 Asian immigration changed US evangelical institutions and politics. The book, under contract with Oxford University Press, connects two historical developments rarely considered together: the rise of the Religious Right and the demographic transformations of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. The Free People of Color Lecture Series is hosted by the Aoki Center at King Hall and the UC Davis Department of History to explore the rights of people of color in the United States following the Civil War and inquire how that history continues to shape our thinking today. The Series will bring leading scholars from around the country to answer such questions as: What does freedom mean in the absence of chattel slavery? Which rights adhere to all free people, and which rights functioned more as privileges belonging to a narrow few? How did the establishment of birthright national citizenship transform the legal rights both of citizens and of so-called aliens? These questions were sharply contested before, during, and after the Civil War, in the battles over Chinese and Irish immigration on both Atlantic and Pacific coasts, in struggles over Native American sovereignty and belonging, in debates over the rights of married and single women, in laws over apprenticeship for minors, in statutes that segregated races by place and privileges and rights, and in the reform of prisons and jails across the country. This UC Davis Humanities Institute Transcollege Research Cluster will provide opportunities for students and faculty in law and history to collaborate on scholarship and to exchange ideas that will enrich their work.