Martin F. Manalansan IV

 Martin Manalansan IV

Contact Information

109 Davenport Hall 607 S Mathews M/C 148 Urbana, IL 61801

Office Hours

  • T 1:00-2:00 and by appt.
View CV

Additional Campus Affiliations


Born and raised in the Philippines, I studied philosophy, Asian Studies and anthropology at the University of the Philippines and did graduate studies in social anthropology at Syracuse University and the University of Rochester. I am an avid observer of transnational popular culture and the ideological landscape of 21st century United States. Despite my tropical provenance, I love temperate climes and urban density which is why I live in the windy city of Chicago. 

Research Interests

  • Ethnography of Asian America
  • Filipino global migration
  • Immigrant Inhabitations
  • Queer of Color Critique
  • Racialized Embodiment and Performance
  • Asian and Asian American Culinary Cultures and other Alimentary Issues

Research Description

My scholarship is located at the juncture of anthropology, cultural studies, diaspora/migration studies, critical ethnic studies, and queer/gender studies. The enduring topics that animate and fuel my intellectual pursuits include social justice, embodiment, structural inequality, quotidian life, vernacular meanings, modes of desire and habitation. As such, I work towards a trenchant understanding of the small, the insignificant, and the abject. From food to queer issues, urban space to cinema, migrant labor to neoliberal discourses, my divergent archives reflect my non allegiance to strict disciplinary concerns. That said, I maintain a deep seated and long-standing admiration for and dedication to ethnography.

My first book, Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora (Duke University Press, 2003; Ateneo de Manila University Press 2006) examines the exigencies of Filipino immigrant “gay” men who contend with the travails of migration, racism, disease, and identity. My forthcoming book entitled Queer Dwellings   examines the affective landscapes, material conditions, ethical dilemmas and embodied experiences of undocumented queer immigrants living under precarious conditions. I am interested in how precarity, resilience, survival and suffering are enfolded into experiences of fabulousness, pathos and exuberance.

I am editor or co-editor of three anthologies, most recently Eating Asian America: A Food Studies Reader   (New York University Press, 2013), as well as several journal special issues. I am currently working on two other book projects on the politics of affect and the senses and immigrant culinary cultures respectively.  I am also involved in ongoing anthology projects on urban space and the cultures of the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines.

My unwavering vision for the futures of Asian American Studies in particular and Critical Ethnic Studies in general is rooted in my decade-long activist and non-profit work in AIDS prevention and immigrant health in New York City during the 1990s as well as my steadfast commitment to the teaching and mentoring of new generations of scholars and activists who are critically aware of and deeply engaged with the social problems of the times. This vision aims to keep the ethos of these fields alive and influential not only in institutional terms within the university, but more importantly, in enabling these fields to shore up hopeful aspirational energies around collective movements and practices towards progressive political and cultural transformations.


  • 1981 A.B. magna cum laude, University of the Philippines
  • 1987 M.A. Anthropology, Syracuse University
  • 1989 M.A. Social Anthropology, University of Rochester
  • 1997 Ph.D. Social Anthropology, University of Rochester

Distinctions / Awards

  • Modern Language Association, Crompton-Noll Award for the Best LGBTQ article, 2016
  • American Studies Association, Richard A. Yarborough Mentoring Award 2016
  • Association for Asian American Studies Excellence in Mentorship Award, 2014
  • Conrad Professorial Humanities Scholar, 2010-2015
  • Unit for Criticism & Interpretive Theory Senior Research Fellow, 2012-2014
  • Ruth Benedict Prize, American Anthropological Association, 2003
  • Association for Asian American Studies Book Award for Cultural Studies, 2000


  • Asian American Cultures
  • Food and Asian Americans
  • Race, Immigration, Cities
  • Filipino Americans – Beyond Empire and Diaspora
  • Globalization and Asian Diasporas
  • Eating The Other: Food, Bodies and Difference
  • Global Sensations – Composing the Body in Motion