Augusto F Espiritu

 Augusto Espiritu

Contact Information

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

Additional Campus Affiliations


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

Distinctions / 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


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


  • 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

Selected Publications

Book Contributions

Asian American Global Discourses and the Problem of History After the Imperial Turn: Thinking Through the Nation, Post-Colonialism edited by Antoinette Burton. Asian American Global Discourses and the Problem of History Edited by Antoinette Burton, Durham, NC Duke University Press 2003, p. 186-195. Link to Publisher.
Filipino Americans: History, Myth, and Promise Multiculturalism in the United States: A Comparative Guide to Acculturation and Ethnicity edited by John Buenker, edited by Lorman Ratner. Filipino Americans: History, Myth, and Promise Edited by John Buenker, Edited by Lorman Ratner, Westport, Connecticut Greenwood Press 2005, p. 117-148. Essay.
Journeys of Discovery and Difference: Transnational Politics and the Union of Democratic Filipinos Transnational Politics of Asian Americans edited by Pei-te Lien, edited by Christian Collett. Journeys of Discovery and Difference: Transnational Politics and the Union of Democratic Filipinos Edited by Pei-te Lien, Edited by Christian Collett, Philadelphia Temple University Press 2009, p. 38-55. Reviews.
The Japanese in the Filipino American Imagination The Philippines and Japan under America's Shadow edited by Yoshiko Nagano, edited by Kiichi Fujiwara. The Japanese in the Filipino American Imagination Edited by Yoshiko Nagano, Edited by Kiichi Fujiwara, Honolulu University of Hawai‘i Press 2011, p. 207-228. Link to Publisher.
American Empire, Hispanism, and the Nationalist Visions of Albizu, Recto, and Grau Formations of United States Colonialism edited by Alyosha Goldstein. American Empire, Hispanism, and the Nationalist Visions of Albizu, Recto, and Grau Edited by Alyosha Goldstein, Durham, NC Duke University Press 2014, p. 157-179. Duke University Press.
Photo of publication
Espiritu, Augusto Asian American Intellectual History The Oxford Handbook of Asian American History edited by David Yoo, compiled by Eiichiro Azuma. Asian American Intellectual History Edited by David Yoo, Compiled by Eiichiro Azuma, New York Oxford University Press 2016, p. 345-359. Oxford University Press.

Journal Articles

Beyond Eve and Mary: Filipino American Intellectual Heroes and the Transnational Performance of Gender and Reciprocity Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 12 3 2003, p. 361-386.
'To Carry Water on Both Shoulders': Carlos P. Romulo, American Empire, and the Meaning of Bandung Radical History Review 95 2006, p. 173-190.
Transnationalism and Filipino American Historiography Journal of Asian American Studies 11 2 2008, p. 171-185.
Inter-Imperial Relations, the Pacific, and Asian American History Pacific Historical Review 83 2 2014, p. 238-254.
Planting Roots: Asian American Studies in the Midwest CUNY Forum 1 2 2014, p. 19-24. Preview of Issue.


Photo of publication
Espiritu, Augusto Five Faces of Exile: The Nation and Filipino American Intellectuals Stanford Stanford University Press 2005. Publisher's site. Review Essay.

Encyclopedia Entries

Filipino Transnationalism Asian Americans: An Encyclopedia of Social, Cultural, Economic, and Political History, Volume One, A-F Firstth ed. Santa Barbara, California ABC-CLIO 2014. Link to Publisher.
Espiritu, Augusto Philippines The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism Firstth ed. Hoboken, NJ John Wiley & Sons, Ltd 2016. Wiley Online Library.


Transnational Crossroads: Remapping the Americas and the Pacific Pacific Historical Review 84 1 2015, p. 128-129.

Edited Books

Photo of publication
Manalansan IV, Martin, and Augusto Espiritu Filipino Studies: Palimpsests of Nation and Diaspora New York New York University Press 2016. NYU Press.