Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Chris McRae, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rachel Dubrofsky, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Aisha Durham, Ph.D.

Committee Member

S. L. Crawley, Ph.D.


Asian American studies, communication studies, feminist studies, performance studies


This project documents the interdependent effort between performers, authors, and texts, through re/theorizing the role of the personal narrator in autoperformance as both an individual, and a part of a political collective. Through a scripted and staged performance, studied as the data, I critically engage with representations of first-generation women of color via comediennes (Ali Wong and Cristela Alonzo) and their personal narratives, and dialogically consider moments of dis/identification as a Filipina American.

Rooted in performance in/and communication studies, the overarching method employed is conspicuous aesthetic performance, via a scripted and staged narrative performance. I join performance and other methods of criticism and qualitative inquiry, namely: collage, performative listening, and personal narrative; into one interdependent process. Conspicuous aesthetic performance ignites and enables the intentional selection of texts, theory and narrative comedy performed in order to make claims on the politics of identity, cultural criticism, and representation.

Ultimately, the project contributes to the diversification of experience and topics in performance studies, communication studies and cultural studies, in the ways in which it responds to key intercultural urgencies in addressing the crisis of representation and theorizing identity. My questions and findings attend not only to “what is?” being Filipina American, but also considers “how is?” a Filipina American identity working within culture as a liminal identity influenced by colonization, immigration, and visual racial markers. The staged performance models the aesthetic of what I explicate as critical Kapwa performance pedagogy. Kapwa, a precolonial Filipino value, situates the self among Others. By collaging comedic narratives in my performance, critical Kapwa performance pedagogy activates a solidarity of shared experience between Filipina Americans among other first-generation American women of color while maintaining the uniqueness of the personal narrative. These findings encourage us to consider the multiplicity of ways that ethnic identity is seen, read, embodied, and performed within different contexts.