The Somatechnics of Whiteness and Race
Colonialism and Mestiza Privilege
Investigating the emergence of a specific mestiza/mestizo whiteness that facilitates relations between the Philippines and Western nations, this book examines the ways in which the construction of a particular form of Philippine whiteness serves to deploy positions of exclusion, privilege and solidarity. Through Filipino, Filipino-Australian, and Filipino-American experiences, the author explores the operation of whiteness, showing how a mixed-race identity becomes the means through which racialised privileges, authority and power are embodied in the Philippine context, and examines the ways in which colonial and imperial technologies of the past frame contemporary practices such as skin-bleaching, the use of different languages, discourses of bilateral relations, secularism, development, and the movement of Filipino, Australian and American bodies between and within nations.
Drawing on key ideas expressed in critical race and whiteness studies, together with the theoretical concepts of somatechnics, biopolitics and governmentality, The Somatechnics of Whiteness and Race sheds light on the impact of colonial and imperial histories on contemporary international relations, and calls for a 'queering' or resignification of whiteness, which acknowledges permutations of whiteness fostered within national boundaries, as well as through various nation-state alliances and fractures. As such, it will appeal to scholars of cultural studies, sociology and politics with interests in whiteness, postcolonialism and race.
Elaine Marie Carbonell Laforteza is a Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Macquarie University, City Campus, Australia.
’The Somatechnics of Whiteness and Race offers revelatory and invaluable new readings on the complex intersections of race, gender, bodies, language, nation and citizenship. Nuanced, geopolitically situated and theoretically sophisticated, Laforteza’s book provides a stunning new framework with which to address urgent and enduring questions about power, race, colonialism and imperialism.’ Joseph Pugliese, Macquarie University, Australia ’Elaine Laforteza has written an original, eloquent and passionate account of the multiple routes of mestiza whiteness that have constructed Filipinos abroad and at home. For the first time, this book introduces racialised somatechnics as a new framework to understand the intersections of diaspora, race, gender and sexuality in Australia. Anyone with an interest in how migrant identities are governed and shaped will be impressed with its interdisciplinary case studies from media, popular culture, religion, history, international relations and education, and Laforteza’s command of contemporary race relations.’ Audrey Yue, University of Melbourne, Australia 'In this important contribution to the burgeoning literature on somatechnics-an interdisciplinary approach to such ’technologies of the body’ as race and gender as well as biomedical interventions-Elaine Laforteza's concept of ’mestizo/a whiteness’ cuts usefully against the grain of much work in critical race and ethnic studies to interrogate what whiteness, as well as color, brings to hybrid identities in the Filipino/a diaspora. Rather than leaving whiteness an untheorized default category, one whose processes of racialization are rendered invisible, Laforteza shows how vital it is, for all who seek to dismantle the racialized hierarchies that maldistribute the chances of life, to understand the ways in which whiteness contributes to mestizo/a social mobilities.' Susan Stryker, University of Arizona, USA, and Associate Editor of Somatechnics journal