Spring 2024 - GA 400 D100

Selected Topics in Global Asia (3)


Class Number: 4747

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Mon, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Dr. Adrian De Leon
  • Instructor:

    Marc Adrian De Leon
  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Content will vary according to interests of faculty and students but will involve Global-Asia-related study within one or more of the social science or humanities disciplines. This course may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught.


Speaking of the American South, the historian Robin D. G. Kelley once noted that, despite the popular notion that the region is a backwater for radical organizing, the repressive regimes of the Southern states exist because the South is the most radical place in the United States. A similar observation could be said of the Philippines, a predominantly agricultural nation in Southeast Asia that has been an unwilling host of multiple empires (Spanish, British, American, Japanese) and a series of authoritarian regimes during the 20th and 21st centuries. As a systematically impoverished country long considered as an imperial hinterland, the archipelago boasts a veritable revolutionary tradition that have shaken empires, overthrown dictators, and shaped a global security regime. And today, as a nation defined by its multiple diasporas (especially the migrant workers that sustain North American and global economies), Philippine revolutionary movements can be found around the world, just as the world itself shapes insurrections in the mother country.

This course examines the revolutionary tradition in the Philippines after the birth of modern capitalism and free-market imperialism in the late 18th century. Beginning with the upheavals during the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) and the British Occupation of Manila (1762-1764), we will chart the development of a racial capitalist regime in the Philippines, as the islands became integrated into the world market through multiple means: steamship routes, the opening of the Suez Canal, and forced agricultural production. Then, we will discuss the origins and the aftermath of the Philippine Revolution (1896-1898) from both elite and nonelite perspectives, and trace the emergence of a transpacific security state during and after the American occupation (1898-1946). Finally, we will evaluate the legacies of Cold War anticommunism, the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos (1965-1986), and the People Power Revolution (1986) in today’s political climate.

This is an intensive reading course. Students will learn how to critically engage scholarly literature produced over the past half-century on revolutionary movements in the Philippines, in conversation with related secondary sources and archival texts. Through literary productions, visual culture, government documents, and multimedia sources, as well as the scholarship that informs their interpretations, students will gain an impression of some of the most exciting conversations in Filipino Studies, and situate seminar discussions within them. The final project will be a historiographical essay, developed in consultation with the instructor, in which students survey the literature on radical movements in the Philippines and practice making their own scholarly contributions.


  • Participation 20%
  • Weekly Reading Quizzes (in-class, weeks 2-11 – you can miss up to two of these, no questions asked) 40%
  • Final Portfolio - Annotated Bibliography (10 sources, annotations at ~100 words each) Historiographical Essay (3000-4000 words, to be developed throughout the semester) 40%



José Rizal, Noli Me Tangere. Penguin Classics, 2006.
José Rizal, El Filibusterismo. Penguin Classics, 2011.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html