From Colonial Cargo to Global Containers: An Episodic Historical Geography of Manila's Waterfront, 1898-2020


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation investigates historical transformations of the Port of Manila, and the changing social and political relations of work there, in a series of key moments or episodic geographies from 1898-2020. The project draws on historical archival analysis conducted in the Philippines and the US and interviews with the city’s port truck drivers. It asks how across disparate historical eras, the state-led production and management of harbor space strategically attempts to reproduce the unequal social relations of American empire, Cold War anti-communism, and contemporary global trade. Its attention to the historical and contemporary lives of dockworkers and truck drivers reveals how these men’s waterfront labor not only facilitates capitalist circulation but generates their own personal and political claims to port space.