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GSN Student Spotlight 

American Studies PhD Student, Anna Alves on her Fulbright Scholarship

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Rutgers Graduate School-Newark
Office of the Dean

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John Cotton Dana Library, Suite 306

Newark, New Jersey 07102

Phone: (973) 353-5834

“The ways Filipino America is imagined, not just in the Americas but in and by Filipinos writing…

is what most interests me.”

Anna M. Alves is studying transpacific literary relations, culture, and aesthetics between the Philippines and the United States. A PhD candidate in the American Studies program at Rutgers University-Newark, Alves has had the opportunity to work in the Philippines as she expands her understanding of literature and history.


Alves says, “The ways Filipino America is imagined, not just in the Americas but in and by Filipinos writing in English in the Philippines, is what most interests me, both as someone who analyzes literature and writes fiction. The history of American Empire is often obscured, even willfully ignored, in the US. Experiencing first-hand the social milieus within which literary imaginations by Filipino writers are created, in daily life and across so many arenas such as holidays, elections, religion, even food, really illuminates the long-lasting legacy and continuing consequence of US imperialism, as well as the way things have been/are Filipinized or localized.”


“...I feel like the Fulbright, at this point of my life and at this stage of my research interests, is the culmination of a lifetime of work as well as a fresh return. I started studying Philippine Literature in English, and the larger context of US/Philippine literary relations, as an undergrad at UCLA over two decades ago. As a writer, scholar, and cultural worker since, I've followed my passions around culture, aesthetics, and community development… Going out into the ‘global field’ felt like an organic extension of all of my prior interests and work.”


Although Alves has already accomplished much in her field and plans on applying her experience and research from the Fulbright Scholarship toward her dissertation.


With regard to her future work, she says, “...the new academic and artistic colleagues I’ve connected within the Philippines provide a potential transpacific network for future collaborations. I am also cultivating extended archival preservation projects between the US and Manila, especially around the N.V.M. Gonzalez Archives Collection, housed at the University of the Philippines at Diliman (Manila). A potential project close to my heart involves developing a follow-up to a book of oral interviews of multi-generational Filipino writers in English that Fulbright alum Roger Bresnahan published in the 1980s, Conversations with Filipino Writers.”


Alves remarks, “...if you stay open to what the [Fulbright] exchange environment offers, it definitely can be transformative.”

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