Dr. Deirdre de la Cruz

Dr. Deirdre de la Cruz, Associate Professor of Southeast Asian Studies and Associate Professor of History, is an historian and cultural anthropologist of the Philippines, with an interest in the transformation of religious sensibilities, beliefs, and phenomena in the 19th and 20th centuries. Specifically, her work examines different varieties of Filipino Christianity through their material, textual, and technological mediations. Her approach to these subjects departs from the premise that the Philippines is a highly productive site for comparative and interdisciplinary inquiry, and thus her work situates the Philippines and Filipinos in relationship to other worlds and communities—be they defined by empire, Christian mission, or diaspora—in ways that unsettle claims often made about Filipino culture and history.

In the last few years, Deirdre has turned her attention to the vast collections of Philippine materials at the University of Michigan. In 2019, she directed a group of undergraduate students in an immersive, eight-week research fellowship at the Bentley Historical Library which produced a website of student-authored essays on the colonial relationship between the Philippines and the University of Michigan. This experience led her to an on-going exploration of related questions and concerns, including affect as archival object and archival method, translingualism in the imperial archives, and how to decenter the US in US empire studies.