Imperial historicism and American military rule in the Philippines' Muslim south

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


When American imperialists seized the Philippines at the dawning of the twentieth century, their guiding philosophy was predicated upon broadly conceived notions of cultural and political historicism. The unwavering self-assurance required to rule over millions of unfamiliar imperial subjects derived its potency from an unquestioned panoptic view of history. This epistemological tool of imperialism found an especially unique and fascinating expression in the United States' politico-military rule over Filipino Muslims. This article explores the creation and processes of imperial taxonomy among Moro populations while accounting for a number of disturbing disruptions and anomalies in the Americans' historical narrative (such as slavery and Islamic civilisation) that threatened to unravel the tightly circumscribed concept of a uniform and interpretable progressive transitional past. It also examines the ways in which American imperialists accounted for these anomalies, and manipulated their own interpretations of the past and the present to maintain the integrity of their philosophical imperial foundations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-429
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Southeast Asian Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this