Robert Diaz is Assistant Professor in the Women & Gender Studies Institute. His research and community work focus on the intersections of postcolonial, queer, and Filipino/a diasporic Studies. Together with Marissa Largo and Fritz Pino, Diaz is co-editing Diasporic Intimacies: Queer Filipinos/as and Canadian Imaginaries(forthcoming in the Critical Insurgencies Series for Northwestern University Press). His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Journal of Asian American Studies, Signs, GLQ, Women and Performance, Philippine Palimpsests: Essays for the 21st Century (NYU Press) and Global Asian Popular Culture (NYU Press).
This talk will examine how queer diasporic migrants negotiate the hierarchizing practices of Canadian multiculturalism and settler colonialism. As a case study, it focuses on “Cabinet of Queeriosities,” a contemporary art exhibit that featured the work of Julius Manapul, and Miss Gay Philippines Canada, a beauty pageant that featured Filipino/a contestants competing from across the greater Toronto area. By tracing the complex articulations of nonnormative intimacy, kinship, and sexuality that emerge from these two events, Diaz will trace the political possibilities of centering queerness in Filipino/a Canadian migration research. He tracks how diasporic forms of sexuality unsettle multiculturalism’s logics for policing inclusion and delineating difference. As diasporic arrivants, queer Filipinos/as index a repertoire of colonial histories that problematize the racializing mechanisms that continue to sustain settler colonialism. They enact messy utopic pursuits that create complex forms of collectivity and community in Canada, beyond the pluralist narratives of diversity often maintained by the state.