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Doctoral project: The making of the Filipino/a "homosexual"

This doctoral project aims to investigate the history of how non-normative genders and sexualities were medicalized and pathologized in the Philippines in the late 19th and early 20th centuries under Spanish and US colonial rule.

Project information

Project name
The making of the Filipino/a "homosexual": Science, homosexuality, and empire in the Philippines under colonial rule (1890s–1941)
Doctoral student
Kiel Ramos Suarez
Stefan Eklöf Amirell
Sept 2019–Aug 2024
History (Department of Cultural Sciences, Faculty of Humanities)

More about the project

"Western" medicine, one of the salient legacies of Spanish and US colonialisms in the Philippines, permeates Filipino society in many ways. Historians have shown that the period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries is crucial in facilitating the diffusion and transfer of scientific knowledge within the colonial system.

This doctoral project aims to examine different forms of colonial scientific travel and exchange in the Philippines in relation to medical discourses on (homo)sexuality. Set against the background of "colonial medicalization," a historical process beginning in the late 19th and early 20th century that subjected native bodies under colonial medical inspection, this study aims to analyze the history of how "homosexuality" became discursively constructed as a disease or disorder in the Philippines under Spanish and US colonial rule.

Through rigorous research in selected colonial archival centers and through careful analysis of historical scholarship on medicine, colonial and postcolonial studies, as well as gender and sexuality studies (LGBTQ studies), this study seeks to broaden our understanding of how colonial science and medicine impacted discourses on male and female homosexualities in the colonial Philippines.

The project is part of the research in the Cluster for Colonial Connections and Comparisons and Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies research groups.