Research Interests

Research Interests


Afro-Filipino Solidarity

Primary Researcher: Kirby Araullo


In Black Lives & Brown Freedom, Kirby Araullo explores the rich history of Afro-Filipino solidarity. An African American soldier “beheaded” deep in the jungle, a volcano crater filled with hundreds of desperate refugees, and church bells tainted with horrific bloodshed in the howling wilderness... What went on in the islands of the Philippines between 1899 to 1913? Black Lives & Brown Freedom: Untold Histories of War, Solidarity, & Genocide vividly engages its readers with the almost forgotten experiences and bond between Filipinos and African Americans in the events surrounding the Philippine-American War. We, at the Bulosan Center, hope that this transforms into a series of publications that documents our roots, culture, and history through our own decolonized perspectives.

Purchase your copy of the book here.


Early American History, Colonialism

Primary Researcher: Nicholas A. Garcia

Trained as a historian of the United States, my research focuses primarily on colonial New England history, with emphasis on missionization and its negative effect on Native Americans. My goal is to de-exceptionalize the history of New England, by arguing that it was actually a means to oppress Native Americans rather than to protect them from English colonizers, which is what historians currently argue.

My philosophy as the Bulosan Center's Senior Communications Editor draws heavily from my research on English colonialism. For one, it has fueled my interest in better understanding the effect that colonialism had in contributing to the push and pull factors causing Filipinos to immigrate to the United States. Secondarily, my research on New England history has made me keenly aware of the fact that history is not always as it seems. Even history that is supposedly concrete can be rewritten or re-envisioned given a new perspective and new evidence. Indeed, up to this point, Filipino American history has yet to find its place within the mainstream narrative of United States history. This is a mistake that I, and the rest of the Bulosan Center, will be trying to rectify.

As a fourth generation Filipino-American, I understand how important remembering our history is. For people like me, it has already begun to recede from memory. It is thus doubly important that we try to streamline and make accessible Filipino-American history so that it is not forever lost to the past.


Filipin[x]s Count! The National Filipinx Health and Well-Being Survey

Primary Researcher: Roy B. Taggueg Jr., MA

Despite being one of the oldest and largest migrant communities in the United States, Filipinxs are often underrepresented in research.   Filipinxs are typically aggregated into a broader Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander categories, and as a result, there is a glaring lack of quantitative data that focuses on the Filipinx diaspora in the United States.

To address this issue, the Bulosan Center is launching Filipin[x]s Count! The National Filipinx Health and Well-Being Survey.  Through community-based participatory research (CBPR), we work with Filipinx migrant organizations, non-profits, and community-engaged groups to generate research questions on what matters to them most.

It is our hope that the data collected from this project will not only center the Filipinx diaspora as the locus of study, but also provide our community partners with up-to-date data on the Filipinx communities living in the United States that can be used to generate and affect policy. This data will also be publicly-available, so that it can be utilized by future generations of Filipinx scholars and encourage them to pursue work within our community. This survey is the Center’s signature research project. It will be piloted in late 2019.


Filipina Migration, Law, Land, and Labor

Primary Researcher: Katherine Nasol

The Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) immigrant population is one of the fastest growing racial groups in the country particularly due to rising immigration. AAPI immigrants enter the country through diverse pathways, from family based visas, asylum, temporary work visas, to entry without a status. A growing mode of immigration is the US temporary guestworker program, where hundreds of thousands of migrants come to the country in order to work on a temporary visa. These programs have been criticized in failing to protect migrants from labor exploitation and human trafficking due to employer control over a migrant’s immigration status. 

Within this context of temporary migration programs, my research focuses on: (1) how neoliberal legal migration regimes affect and sanction precarious labor within settler colonial states such as the United States, and (2) the role of gender within the labor brokerage process amongst the Philippines and its destination states during a time of mass displacement and rising fascism.


Filipinx Migration

Primary Researcher: Robyn Rodriguez, PhD

Dr. Rodriguez is a widely published and highly sought-after scholar-activist who is an expert on Filipinx migration. Her work has focused significantly on the Philippine labor diaspora but she also examines migration from a comparative perspective, linking and relating the migration of Asian and Latinx communities. Just as importantly, Rodriguez examines transnational migrant and other forms of activism.

Rodriguez’s first book, Migrants for Export: How the Philippine State Brokers Labor to the World (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010), received an honorable mention for best social science book by the Association for Asian American Studies. Additional books include a co-edited anthology (with Ulla Berg) Transnational Citizenship Across the Americas (New York: Routledge 2014), a co-authored book (with Pawan Dhingra), Asian America: Sociological and Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Polity, 2014). In 2017, she published, In Lady Liberty’s Shadow: Race and Immigration in New Jersey (Rutgers U. Press). By the end of 2019, her edited anthology, “Filipino American Transnational Activism” will be published (Brill Press). Dr. Rodriguez is also at work co-authoring, “Filipinos in America in the 21st Century” and co-editing an anthology on Asian American activism. In addition to her books she has published over thirty academic articles, book chapters and journalistic pieces.


Filipinx Labor Trafficking, Migrant Labor, & Anti-Imperialist Transnational Community Organizing

Primary Researcher: Wayne Silao Jopanda

In “Migrants for Export”, Dr. Robyn Rodriguez describes the Philippines’ transformation into a “Labor Brokerage State” in which Filipinos are actively recruited to become Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). My research focuses on the Philippines' system of forced migration and labor brokering that connects to the recent influx of Filipinos affected by labor trafficking and abuses against migrant workers. As a 2019 Racial Capitalism Fellow, I aim to continue this work focusing on how neoliberal globalization and continued U.S. neocolonialism in the Philippines has led to the commodification and racialization of Filipinx migrant workers as "obedient and fluid bodies of labor". My research serves as a community engaged research project in collaboration with multiple community centered grass roots organizations. My research philosophy is grounded in decolonial research methodologies, as defined by Dr. Linda Tuhiwai-Smith, and a feminist mixed methods approach to community led and shaped research. Having collaborated with GABRIELA D.C. and Migrante D.C. as a scholar activist and community organizer, I focus on how trafficked Filipinxs and Overseas Filipinx Workers utilize community organizing as a process of collective transnational healing. As a first generation college student and the son of Filipinx migrant workers, I recognize the importance of decolonizing research and academia by sharing power, resources, and control of this collaborative project with the community members centered in this work.

Historic Filipino Sites in California

Primary Researcher: Allan Jason Sarmiento

This research project focuses on identifying and cataloging Historic Filipino American Sites in California. Although Filipinos comprise of one of the earliest Asian American immigrant groups in California, there are few Filipino sites listed on the National Register, California Register, or local (city or county) historic registers. Places such as Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles and Little Manila in Stockton are recognized as historic sites, but the sites face constant attack from redevelopment, demolition, and gentrification. The goal of this research is to survey and identify Filipino American sites in California that are 1) listed on local, state, and national historic registers, 2) previously evaluated sites not listed on said registers, and 3) sites nearing the 50th year threshold for evaluation. The purpose of this research survey is to 1)create an inventory of buildings, structures, neighborhoods, and districts related to Filipino Americans and 2) identify endangered Filipino American historic sites for future evaluation.


Peminist & Pinay Activist History

Primary Researcher: Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas, MA

The history of Filipina immigrant and Filipina American women prior to World War II have received less attention in comparison to their male counterpart, the Manong Generation.  The imbalance in gender ratio of Filipinas to Filipinos in America (1 : 20) during the early twentieth century, particularly during the Great Depression Era, traditionally regulated Filipinas’ roles to  lean more towards as supportive maternal figures who were solely community oriented. Despite their status as a minority within a minority, the manang generation managed to navigate around patriarchal barriers both commonly found in both their Filipino immigrant households, communities, and the broader segregated white American landscape in order to secure the survival of their families and cultural heritage.  Ultimately, the goals of this outlet of BCFS research is to 1) record, recover, and preserve both the written and oral histories of the first and second generation Filipina-Americans who lived in the earlier Fil-Am communities of California and the greater Pacific Northwest 2) expand Filipino-American labor history of the Manong Generation beyond the male dominant narrative and include the women who labored among them 3) Lastly, to locate the Peminist consciousness behind the Pinay identity that helped to establish and ground the earliest and most socio-politically active Filipino American communities in the United States.


Immigration Policy Research

December 18, 2018 is International Migrants’ Rights Day. In recognition of the strong, vibrant Filipinx migrant diaspora, it is important for us to reflect on the Philippines’ history in relation to the United States, beginning in 1898 when the US won control over the Philippines in the conclusion of the Spanish-American War. Today, it is estimated that over 10 million Filipinxs live outside of the Philippines (Commission of Filipinos Overseas 2015). BCFS researches trends affecting the worldwide Filipinx population.


Gender Justice

Many Filipinas and LGBTQQIA+ community members are impacted by poor self esteem, mental health issues, and exclusion from the larger Pilipinx community. Because of such pervasive stigmatization, LGBTQQIA+ Pilipinx and Filipina community members are more vulnerable to survival sex trade, human trafficking, and sexual assault in addition to challenges in accessing health care and employment with sufficient benefits and wages. BCFS will research major trends affecting the LGBTQQIA+, gender non-conforming, and Filipina community, with a particular emphasis on those who identify as gender non-conforming and transgender.


Worker's Rights

In the Filipino community, workers’ rights issues are intimately tied to issues of gender-based discrimination and immigration. Advocates have noted the feminization of migration to the United States, where primarily Filipinas are used as low-wage labor in industries such as home health care, nursing, domestic work, and teaching. Workers experience human rights violations such as threats of deportation, debt bondage, trafficking, wage theft, and sexual assault due in part to the isolation of these industries and lack of legal protections. BCFS is researching trends regarding workers’ rights for the worldwide Filipinx population.