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Student Spotlight: Adrian Alarilla

Our second student spotlight of Spring 2024 is Adrian Alarilla, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Read Adrian’s story here:

Background and Research Interest.

Adrian is originally from Manila, Philippines. He is currently residing in Seattle, Washington State. His dissertation is focused on Transpacific Filipino migration and his working title is, “Re/Producing Islands: Migrant Filipino Kinship, Subjectivity, and Settlerism across Imperial and National Peripheries.” Adrian expects to graduate from his doctoral studies by Spring 2025.

Adrian’s research is informed and driven by his own heritage and lived experiences as a migrant, coupled with the questions that have troubled him since he moved to the United States, especially to Seattle and Hawaiʻi, which are places that have deep Filipino histories, but even deeper Indigenous histories. He wanted to explore the history of Filipino migrant subjectivities as a way to grapple with his own complicated positionality both as postcolonial subject but also as settler-migrant.


Adrian has a passion for traveling without a set plan to surprise himself, occasionally allowing himself to get wonderfully lost. It’s his way of testing and honing his problem-solving skills. 

Publications and Presentations

Passionate Engagements, Intimate Entrapments: Love, War, and Those Caught Between Empire and Nation:

Unsettling Islands: Philippine Cinema, Migration, and Settler Colonialism:

A String of Specters: Reflections on the Haunting in Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Refugees

Sa Laot 

Personal website