Women & Gender Studies Institute

Robert Diaz

Ph.D., M.Phil (English, The Graduate Center - City University of New York); B.A. (English, University of California - Riverside)

phone : 416-946-5801

office : 2043

email : robert.diaz@utoronto.ca

Robert Diaz is Assistant Professor of transnational feminisms, globalization, and sexuality studies at the Women and Gender Studies Institute.   His research, teaching, and community work focus on the intersections of Asian diasporic, postcolonial, and queer studies. Diaz pays particular attention to Filipino/a cultural practices and the diaspora’s experiences with empire. Diaz has taught at OCAD University, Wilfrid Laurier University, Wayne State University, USC, UCLA, and Scripps College.  His research has appeared in Journal of Asian American Studies, Signs, GLQ, Women and Performance, Philippine Palimpsests: Essays for the 21st Century (NYU Press) and Global Asian Popular Culture (NYU Press).

Diaz is currently co-editing Diasporic Intimacies: Queer Filipinos and Canadian Imaginaries with Fritz Pino and Marissa Largo. This groundbreaking collection brings together artists, scholars, and community members to discusses the contributions of LGBTQ Filipinos/as to Canadian culture and society. This work is forthcoming in the Critical Insurgencies Series with Northwestern University Press (2017), and is inspired by a historic gathering held in Toronto: http://www.queerfilipinosincanada.ca/

Diaz is also a scholar committed to ideals of equity and the pursuit of social justice. He has worked with organizations in the greater Toronto area that seek to better the lives of racially marginalized, queer, and Indigenous communities. He has collaborated with Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS), UKPC/FCYA, Magkaisa Centre and Kapisanan, encouraging multiple forms of capacity building, pedagogy and learning beyond the academic institution.


Diaz’ first book project, Reparative Acts: Redressive Nationalisms and Queer Filipino/a Lives, examines Filipino diasporic film, literature, performance, and new media in order to interrogate the relationship between histories of nationalism, imperialism, and redress. In the process, he identifies six key figures that have been significant to the consolidation of Philippine nationalisms since the 1970’s: the victimized Filipina during Japanese duress, the marginalized city-dweller during the Marcos regime, the transnational returnee or balikbayan, the overseas contract worker, the “beauty queen”, and the international celebrity. Diaz argues that by queering these figures, artists, intellectuals, and people participating in the information flows of new media are then able to produce legible and complex critiques of often limited and institutionalized enactments of economic, political, and symbolic redress.

Diaz’ second book project, To Will Incommensurable Futures: Queer Filipinos/as in Canada, analyzes a range of archives, from the Miss Gay Philippines Canada beauty pageant, to the stories of transgender Filipinas living in Toronto, to the artistic practices of Julius Manapul, Jo Alcampo, and Casey Mecija. In the process, Diaz notes that the Filipino/a diaspora’s experience with multiple forms of colonialism and racialization offer new perspectives for understanding the limits of Canadian multiculturalism, which carries its own attendant forms of racialization and practices of exclusion. Diaz has also pursued ethnographic research in Toronto, Calgary, and Winnipeg, as he examines the links between various provincial immigration policies and the ways in which sexually marginalized communities navigate, animate, and imagine the Canadian “global city”.

Diaz has been awarded two competitive external fellowships, an Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowships at UCLA with the theme of “Homosexualities: From Antiquity to the Present” (2009-2010), and an Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at USC with a theme of “Comparative Ethnic Studies” (2007-2008).


Diasporic Intimacies: Queer Filipinos/as and Canadian Imaginaries. Co-editors Marissa Largo and Fritz Pino. (Under Contract: Northwestern University Press).


“Queer Unsettlements: Filipinos in Canada’s World Pride”. Journal of Asian American Studies. October 2016.

“The Limits of Bakla and Gay: Feminist Readings of My Husband’s Lover, Vice Ganda, and Charice Pempengco” in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Vol. 40, No. 3 (Spring 2015), pp. 721-745

“Queer Love and Urban Intimacies in Martial Law Manila.” Plaridel: A Philippine Journal of Communication, Media, and Society. 9:2, 2012. University of the Philippines Press.

“Queer Histories and the Global City.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Volume 18, Number 2-3, 2012. Duke University Press.

“Transnational Queer Studies and Unfolding Terrorisms: Jasbir Puar’s Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times.” Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts. Winter 2009. Wayne State Press.

“Queer Undoing in Markova: Comfort Gay.” Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory. Vol 17:1 Spring 2007. Routledge Press.

“Melancholic Maladies: Paranoid Ethics, Reparative Envy, and Asian American Critique.”Performing Reparation: Practice, Methodology, Process. Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory. Vol 16:2 Spring 2006. Routledge Press.

Co-Editor (Journal): Performing Reparation: Practice, Methodology, Process with Joshua Chambers Letson. Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory. Vol 16:2 Spring 2006. Routledge Press.


“Queer Returns: Failed Balikbayans in R. Zamora Linmark’s Leche and Gil Portes’ Miguel/Michelle” in Global Asian American Popular Cultures edited by Shilpa Dave, Leilani Nishime and Tasha Oren. New York: New York University Press, 2016.

“Redressive Nationalisms, Victimized Filipinas, and Japanese Duress” in Filipino Studies: Palimpsests of Nation and Diaspora edited by Martin Manalansan and Augusto Espiritu. New York: New York University Press, 2016.

“Sexuality” in The Routledge Companion to Asian American Literature, edited by Rachel Lee. New York: Routledge Press, 2014.


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