Kritika Kultura Lecture Series presents Paul Michael Atienza

Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary, and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University will host a lecture by Paul Michael Leonardo Atienza titled “The Promise of Intimacy: Gay Filipinos on Mobile Phone Apps in Manila and Los Angeles.” The lecture is on Mar. 30, 2017, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., at Faber Hall Rm. 302, Ateneo de Manila University. The lecture is open to the public.

Atienza’s abstract reads: “Situated within its geopolitical realities of labor outsourcing and the highest HIV infection rates in the world, this project investigates how gay Filipinos negotiate the transnational relationship between technology and intimacy. The mobile dating app industry finds no shortage in people looking for intimate connections—either romantic or quick sexual encounters. Worth $2.1 billion in marketing revenue, companies target gay men around the world with the promise that these digital technologies will result in immediate connections among its users within close proximity. Examining mobile phone app ideologies and practices among gay Filipino men in and between Manila, the Philippine capital, and Los Angeles, California, where the largest population of Filipino outside the homeland reside, I ask how these digital media technologies reconfigure people’s notions of time and space, emotional attachments, self-presentation, and concepts of difference such as race, class, sex, and gender. With more than 10 percent of its population dispersed in over 200 countries as migrant laborers, Filipinos find ways to connect with each other as they move elsewhere. This online and offline multi-sited ethnographic study questions how social apps on mobile phones shape gay Filipinos notions of time and space. Following the movement of people, ideas, and technologies between these key sites, I study how digital media beliefs and practices travel, transfer, and reconfigure human subjectivities and hierarchies of difference. This project adds to anthropological scholarship focused on networked globalization, postcolonial and feminist technoscience, and queer lives.

About the lecturer

Paul Michael (Mike) Leonardo Atienza, MA, is a doctoral candidate in the department of anthropology with a graduate certificate in gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before coming to Urbana-Champaign, he worked for many years as an academic advisor at the University of California, Riverside and served in leadership roles for the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Student Academic Affairs Office, the program in Southeast Asia: Text, Ritual, and Performance, and the UCR LGBITQ community. In addition to his digital media research, Mike performs with the US-based Indonesian keroncong ensemble, Orkes Pantai Barat, and collaborates with drag performance artist Aloha Tolentino. He received his MA in Southeast Asian Studies (2010) and BA degrees in music and English (2002) from the University of California, Riverside.

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