Senior Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in English



Faculty Advisor(s)

Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt

Subject Categories

American Literature | Comparative Literature | Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Hawaiian Studies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies


This thesis explores a conversation between the “self” and Filipino culture to examine the ways the Filipino diaspora exists in literature amongst colonization and trauma. Through literary texts spanning across time and geographical locations, like Elaine Castillo’s America Is Not the Heart and Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters, I interrogate the cultural and psychic meanings associated with the concept of home within the context of these hybrid histories. By examining the neo-canonical literature of some of these authors, I interrogate their sense of self, voices and visions via the languages, symbols, cultural frameworks and emotions that are prevalent within the literary texts and my own auto-ethnographic explorations.

Within the auto-ethnographic representation, I examine what it means to be Local Filipino—a Filipino identity emerging from the dual colonization of Hawai’i during the plantation era. By looking at these trajectories and cultural landscapes within these literary and creative spaces, this thesis explores a discourse that aims to speak about hybrid Filipino identity, home, place, and history within a postcolonial context.