In Dangerous Intercourse, Tessa Winkelmann examines interracial social and sexual contact between Americans and Filipinos in the early twentieth century via a wide range of relationships—from the casual and economic to the formal and long term. Winkelmann argues that such intercourse was foundational not only to the colonization of the Philippines but also to the longer, uneven history between the two nations. Although some relationships between Filipinos and Americans served as demonstrations of US "benevolence," too-close sexual relations also threatened social hierarchies and the so-called civilizing mission. For the Filipino, Indigenous, Moro, Chinese, and other local populations, intercourse offered opportunities to negotiate and challenge empire, though these opportunities often came at a high cost for those most vulnerable.
Drawing on a multilingual array of primary sources, Dangerous Intercourse highlights that sexual relationships enabled US authorities to police white and nonwhite bodies alike, define racial and national boundaries, and solidify colonial rule throughout the archipelago. The dangerous ideas about sexuality and Filipina women created and shaped by US imperialists of the early twentieth century remain at the core of contemporary American notions of the island nation and indeed, of Asian and Asian American women more generally.
Tessa Winkelmann is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
- publisherCornell University Press
- publisher placeIthaca, NY