"Artificial Life" explores the official and public debates over Philippine Independence during the Great Depression, paying particular attention to anxieties over the free movement of labor and capital across the U.S. Pacific empire. On one hand, pro-colonial Americans argued against independence, citing the disorder and discontent of peasant communities and the immaturity of the archipelago's markets. Filipino statesmen, on the other hand, appropriated the language of imperial paternalism, asserting that while the Philippine economy had initially benefited from racial tutelage, it had now matured beyond American supervision. Surprisingly, Filipino statesmen also established tense and fleeting solidarities with American anti-immigrant activists and several U.S. cartels. Finally, this talk examines other visions of Philippine freedom that emerged during this period. Instead of nominal independence, some envisioned a future beyond colonialism through anti-imperial and internationalist revolutions.
Allan E. S. Lumba is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Society of Fellows and an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Michigan. Before arriving in Michigan, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Global American Studies at Harvard University. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of History at the University of Washington. His forthcoming book Monetary Authorities: Economic Policy and Policing in the American Colonial Philippines explores the historical intersections between race, capitalism, U.S. empire, and Filipino politics in the first half of the twentieth century.