Organized Panel Session
This panel examines how bodies, from the corpse to the disabled worker, all the way to the geobody, are fundamental to the stakes of colonial value extraction in the early 20th century Philippines. In particular, we argue that mutilation and dismemberment played a central role in how the United States empire extracted value from the archipelago and its people. Drawing from racial capitalism, political theory, and disability studies, panelists bring into focus the embodied dimensions of colonial government.
We seek to rework Philippine historical economies at different scales. With Adrian De Leon’s study, we begin in the Philippines’ far north, in a district whose inhabitants were exterminated by Philippine and American mercenaries. It follows how American elites assessed the value of mutilated corpses as part of a larger prospecting mission to build colonial infrastructures in an insurgent mountain region. In his study, Jorge Bayona scales us back to the nation’s geobody, through which elites turned to discourses of mutilation to comprehend the threat of territorial loss during the American colonial period. Finally, in Christine Peralta’s paper, we follow Philippine labor abroad as they join other Asian diasporas in Hawai‘i sugar plantations. By investigating workplace injury and flawed colonial healthcare, she investigates what happens to laboring bodies when they cannot work anymore. Sony Coráñez Bolton will serve as chair and offer comments.