Augusto F Espiritu

Profile picture for Augusto F Espiritu

Contact Information

History Department
309 Gregory Hall
810 S Wright
M/C 466
Urbana, IL 61801
Associate Professor


Three cities in the Philippines special to me -- Manila, my birthplace; Jaen, Nueva Ecija, my father's hometown; and Imus, Cavite, that of my mother. As a child, I immigrated to the United States with my family, grew up in Inglewood, California, and attended the Jesuit Loyola High School near downtown Los Angeles. I attended UCLA as an undergraduate, master's, and doctoral student in history and Asian American studies. I joined the History Department and the Department of Asian American Studies in Illinois, serving as head of the Department of Asian American Studies from 2012 to 2014. I have maintained a full agenda of research and teaching as well as a busy travel itinerary, which included sailing around the world for 100 days as instructional faculty for Semester at Sea and research stints in Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines.

Biografía en español

Nací en Manila, Filipinas y con el resto de mi familia nos trasladamos a Los Ángeles donde estudié en el Colegio de Loyola y la Universidad de California en Los Ángeles (UCLA). Obtuve mi maestría en estudios asiático-americanos (Asian American Studies) y mi doctorado en historia en UCLA. Soy profesor asociado y un miembro de la Facultad de Historia y el Departamento de Estudios Asiático-Americanos y también tengo una afiliación con el Centro de Estudios Latinoamericanos y Caribeños. Enseño cursos en la historia de Estados Unidos, especialmente en la historia del imperio norteamericano en Asia, el Pacífico, y las Américas. Enseño también cursos en migración, transnacionalismo, raza y etnía.

Research Interests

American Empire, Transnationalism, Hispanism, Asian and Caribbean Intellectual History

Research Description

My research focuses on the intellectual history of American empire, and on the subjects of migration, nationalism, and transnationalism. My current book project, “In Defense of Spain: Resistance to American Empire in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines in the Twentieth Century,” is a comparative work that examines how intellectuals articulated nationalist ideals with"Hispanism" (also known as hispanismo, hispanidad, or hispanoamericanismo) – a type of solidarity based on a putatively shared "Spanish" identity – as a mode of questioning, resisting, or accommodating to U.S. colonialism and Americanization. The work also reflects on how this resistant discourse generated its own exclusions and theoretical blind spots, especially in relation to gender, race, and social class. The intellectual figures I study include the Cubans Ramón Grau San Martín, Jorge Mañach, and Mirta Aguirre; the Puerto Ricans Pedro Albizu Campos, Antonio Pedreira, and Margot Arce; and the Filipinos, Claro Mayo Recto, Nicomedes (Nick) Joaquin, and Encarnacion Alzona.                                                                                                                                     

Investigación:  Me enfoco en la historia intelectual del imperio norteamericano y en los temas de migración, nacionalismo y transnacionalismo. Mi proyecto actual es un libro titulado, “En defensa de España: La resistencia al imperio norteamericano en Cuba, Puerto Rico y Filipinas durante el siglo veinte.” “En defensa de España” es una obra comparativa que se enfoca en la vinculación de ideales nacionalistas con hispanismo o hispanidad, la ideología que asume una solidaridad entre los que poseen herencia cultural española, como una moda de interrogar, resistir o adaptarse al colonialismo norteamericano y la americanización. La obra también critica las exclusiones y ceguedades teóricas de hispanismo, en especial las relacionadas a género, raza y clase. Las figuras que estudio en mi indagación incluyen los cubanos Ramón Grau San Martín, Jorge Mañach y Mirta Aguirre; los puertorriqueños Pedro Albizu Campos, Antonio Pedreira y Margot Arce; y los filipinos Claro Mayo Recto, Nicomedes (Nick) Joaquin y Encarnacion Alzona.


B.A., History; M.A., Asian American Studies; Ph.D, History, UCLA


Hewlett International Research Grant
Amy Ling Memorial Research Grant
Ford Foundation, Conference and Travel Grant

Courses Taught

Constructing Race in America AFRO/AAS/AIS/HIST/LLS 281
Intro to Asian American Studies AAS 100
Asian American History AAS/HIST 283
Immigrant America HIST 472
Transnationalism and Empire HIST 572

Additional Campus Affiliations

Associate Professor, Asian American Studies

Honors & Awards

Arnold O. Beckman Award
Associate Fellow, Center for Advanced Study
Outstanding Asian American Faculty/Staff Award
UCLA Pilipino Alumni Association Royal Morales Community Achievement Award
Mellon Faculty Fellowship
University of California, Berkeley, Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship
Fulbright Research Fellowship

Recent Publications

Manalansan, M. F., & Espiritu, A. F. (Eds.) (2016). Filipino studies: Palimpsests of nation and diaspora. New York University Press.

Manalansan, M. F., & Espiritu, A. F. (2016). The field: Dialogues, visions, tensions, and aspirations. In Filipino Studies: Palimpsests of Nation and Diaspora (pp. 1-11). New York University Press.

Espiritu, A. F. (2015). Philippines. In J. Stone, D. M. Rutledge, A. D. Smith, P. S. Rizova, & X. Hou (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism Wiley-Blackwell.

Espiritu, A. F. (2015). Review: C. Fojas and R. P. Guevarra's (eds.) Transnational Crossroads: Remapping the Americas and the Pacific. Pacific Historical Review, 84(1), 127-128.

Burton, A. M., Kennedy, D., Hyslop, J., Mawani, R., Mukherjee, M., Sahadeo, J., ... Go, J. (2014). Kitabkhana: A Discussion of Julian Go’s Patterns of Empire. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 34(3), 599-651.

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