Celebrating Bundok: A Hinterland History of Filipino America

February 02, 2024

This presentation is sponsored by SFU's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Global Asia Program.

Please join as we welcome Dr. Adrian De Leon as the Farley Distinguished Visiting Scholar in History and celebrate the publication of his first scholarly book, Bundok: A Hinterland History of Filipino America. J. P. Catungal (UBC) May Farrales (SFU), and Coll Thrush (UBC) will join Dr. De Leon in conversation about his work.

In Bundok, De Leon focuses attention on the hinterlands of North Luzon and its Indigenous people, who have been in the crosshairs of imperial and capitalist extraction since the late eighteenth century. Combining the breadth of global history with the intimacy of biography, Bundok follows the people of Northern Luzon across space and time, advancing a new vision of the United States’ Pacific empire that begins with the natives and migrants who were at the heart of colonialism and its everyday undoing.

From the emergence of Luzon's eighteenth-century tobacco industry and the Hawaii Sugar Planters’ Association’s documentation of workers to the movement of people and ideas across the Suez Canal and the stories of Filipino farmworkers in the American West, De Leon traces “the Filipino” as a racial category emerging from the labor, subjugation, archiving, and resistance of native people. De Leon's imaginatively constructed archive yields a sweeping history that promises to reshape our understanding of race making in the Pacific world.


Adrian De Leon is an award-winning multidisciplinary writer and public historian. He is a renowned expert in the history of U.S.-Philippine relations and Asian American politics, and an advocate for the literary arts in his hometown of Scarborough, Ontario. He is the author of two books of poetry, Rouge, and barangay: an offshore poem, as well as the academic book Bundok: A Hinterland History of Filipino America. De Leon has taught at the University of Toronto and the University of Southern California, where he was an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity. After his term at SFU, he will join the faculty at New York University as an Assistant Professor of U.S. History.