GWS News

Paul Michael Leonardo Atienza is the 2017 Smalley Fellow in GWS

12/7/2016  8:00 am

The Department of Gender and Women's Studies has selected Paul Michael Leonardo Atienza to receive the 2017 Smalley Fellowship in GWS.  Atienza is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology: http://www.anthro.illinois.edu/people/atienza2  Here's an abstract of his dissertation proposal, entitled “The Promise of Intimacy: Gay Filipinos on Mobile Phone Apps in Manila and Los Angeles”:

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.