Professional and Biographical Information

[Faculty photo shows a smiling brown Asian man with black hair partially covering his eyes and face. They are wearing a blue shirt and black earrings]

Note: When addressing me or referring to me in written correspondence or other contexts, I prefer my entire last name to be used. So the entire name written would read: "Sony Coráñez Bolton" not "Sony Bolton." When omitting my first name, "Professor Coráñez Bolton" or "Dr. Coráñez Bolton." Think of these names being tied together with a hyphen though I do not personally use that. While I do respond to "Prof. Bolton," it is not my entire last name. I will (sometimes happily) accept being referred to as "Dr. Bolton" in oral speech for ease of use though it is not ideal. Thanks for your consideration! In case it's helpful: How to pronounce my name.

I am originally from Olongapo City, Philippines, the erstwhile location of the Subic Naval Base before US military bases were decommissioned in the early 1990s. My research interests were born from my own personal experience of US militarism. In the United States, I grew up in San Francisco and outside of Chicago. 

Before coming to Amherst College, I was an Assistant Professor of Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Before that I held a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship through the Creating Connections Consortium (C3) at Middlebury College in the Department of Luso-Hispanic Studies. As a graduate student at the University of Michigan, I did dissertation fieldwork in Quezon City and Manila with the support of the Fulbright exploring the intersection of queer literary culture, activism, and party politics. I was also a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison studying the Tagalog/Filipino language, a linguistic archive I hope to incorporate in future research.

Personally, I enjoy cooking, food-writing, and reading poetry. I am a low-brow pop culture connoisseur. I have a profound scholarly fascination with K-Pop.  

Degrees

Ph.D., American Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2016)
M.A., Foreign Languages and Literatures, Marquette University (2009)
B.A., Spanish, Marquette University (2007)

Research  Interests

I am a critical ethnic studies scholar working at the intersection of settler colonial studies, queer, disability studies, and postcolonial theory. The “critical” in critical ethnic studies typically means taking seriously the ways that US ethnic minority claims for political recognition contravene indigenous sovereignty. I am trained in the field of American Studies but have always been interested in the late Spanish colonial period in the Philippines (1872-1896) – an epoch that Philippine historiography conventionally dubs one of “nationalist consciousness” or when the Filipino nation was born – in which mestizo Filipino intellectuals produced a rich archive of Spanish textual, artistic, and scholarly materials. As a comparative Americanist, I seek to understand how Hispanic Filipino culture protracted into the US colonial period in the Philippines (1898-1934). In my work I have found that the eliminatory and genocidal logics of settler colonialism shaped the way that the United States expanded transpacifically, particularly when the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines were “ceded” to the US by Spain in 1898. Through the case studies of the Philippines and Puerto Rico we might pose the question: What might a postcolonial reading of the Jim Crow era look like? What might it mean to frame an Asian American Studies project through such a critical starting point? At a time when the US legally inscribed a policy of “separate but equal” via Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) it paradoxically incorporated the “brown” nations of Spain’s last colonial possessions. I explore the ways that the United States made sense of its new brown natives or “indios” – I claim that US imperialism was a transpacific extension of settler colonialism. Within this context, in my book project, tentatively titled Crip Colony: Mestizaje, US Imperialism, and the Queer Politics of Disability in the Philippines, I research the ways that Filipino Chinese mestizos created racial hierarchies, drawing from US racial ideology, in which more native (i.e. – less mestizo) Filipinos were rendered “stupid,” “idiotic,” “crazy,” and in need of rehabilitation. I argue that mestizo classifications of disability and Filipinx indigeneity were adumbrated by logics of heteronormativity. 

Teaching Interests

Much like my research, my courses explore different genealogies of racial admixture and disability by drawing generously on Latin American cultural studies, Latinx studies, Chicana feminist theory, and Filipinx American studies. From a theoretical vantage, my courses engage contemporary debates in the fields of disability studies, settler colonial studies, and queer of color critique. Disability studies attempts to locate the "problem" of impairment not within the individual as a failure to be addressed through personal responsibility. Instead, it locates disability within the environment and asks us to consider it a social problem that requires collective action. Studies of settler colonialism explore the differences between more conventionally understood franchise colonialism (British and French colonialism, for instance) and the replacement of the native population by settlers. This field argues that this a structure that influences political life today rather than simply a historical event the thorny issues around which have been "settled." Queer of color critique is a field of immanent critique that subverts Marxist thought arguing that dimensions of difference like race, sexuality, gender identity and expression, are indexical of asymmetrical economic relations. I routinely ask students in my courses to make their own novel intellectual connections between fields of thought that typically do not move together in their analysis of social problems or phenomena. Often, given the transnational dimensions of my own work, students will find that I problematize without completely discarding the geopolitical rubrics through which we have typically ordered the world, our knowledge about it, and our place in it, i.e. - "Asia," "Latin America," etc. 

Selected Publications

Books

Crip Colony: Mestizaje, US Imperialism, and the Queer Politics of Disability in the Philippines (Duke University Press, forthcoming 2023)

Dos X (In Progress)

Special Issues

Guest Editor, “Origins, Objects, and Orientations: Towards a Racial History of Disability,” Disability Studies Quarterly. Co-editors Kelsey Henry, Leon Hilton, and Anna LaQuawn Hinton

Journal Articles, Book Chapters, and Other Essays

Coráñez Bolton, Sony. “Manifest Disablement: Cripping the Frontier Thesis of American History,” Critical Ethnic Studies (forthcoming December 2022/January 2023)

Coráñez Bolton, Sony. “Filipino Negrito: Black Mestizaje and Transpacific Intimacies in Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters and José Rizal’s Filipinas dentro de cien años,Migrant Frontiers: Race and Mobility in the Luso-Hispanic World, eds. Lamonte Aidoo and Daniel Silva, introduction by Walter Mignolo. Liverpool University Press (forthcoming)

Coráñez Bolton, Sony. "Decolonizing the Body in Multiethnic American Literature," Cambridge Companion to American Literature and the Body, ed. Travis Foster. (forthcoming)

Coráñez Bolton, Sony. “A Tale of Two ’X’s: Queer Filipinx and Latinx Linguistic Intimacies.” In Filipinx American Studies: Reckoning, Reclamation, Transformation, edited by Rick Bonus and Antonio T. Tiongson, 284–90. New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 2022.

Coráñez Bolton, Sony. 2021. “Filipinx Critique at the Crossroads of Queer Diasporas and Settler Sexuality in Miguel Syjuco’s Ilustrado.” Journal of Asian American Studies 24 (2): 219–45. https://doi.org/10.1353/jaas.2021.0022

Coráñez Bolton, Sony. 2021. “Filipinx and Latinx Queer Critique: Houseboys and Housemaids in the US-Mexican Borderlands.” In Q & A: Voices from Queer Asian North America, edited by Martin F. Manalansan, Kale Bantigue Fajardo, and Alice Y. Hom, 103–11. Temple University Press.

Coráñez Bolton, Sony. “El español filipino-americano como ética de solidaridad,” Revista Filipina, Vol 7, No 1 (Summer 2020), 56-58.

Coráñez Bolton, Sony and Josen Díaz. “Filipinos.” Latino Studies. Oxford Bibliographies, ed. Ilan Stavans, 24 September 2020. doi: 10.1093/OBO/9780199913701-0149

Coráñez Bolton, Sony. “‘Somos los del español deficiente’: Crip Chicana/Filipina Pedagogies of Translation,” Aster(ix): A Journal of Literature, Art, and Criticism, Kitchen Table Translation, ed. Madhu Kaza (Summer 2017), 174-182.

Coráñez Bolton, Sony. “Cripping The Philippine Enlightenment: Ilustrado Travel Literature, Postcolonial Disability, and the ‘Normate Imperial Eye/I’”, Verge: Studies in Global Asias, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Fall 2016), pp. 138-162.

Awards and Honors

Faculty Research Fellow, Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, University of Massachusetts-Amherst (2021-22)

New England Humanities Consortium Seed Grant Award, Collaborator for “Shade: Labor Diasporas, Tobacco, Mobility, and the Urban Nexus” (2020-21)

National Endowment for the Humanities, Global Histories of Disability Institute Fellow, Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C. (2018)

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, C3: Creating Connections Consortium, Middlebury College, Department of Luso-Hispanic Studies (2016-17)

Fulbright Hays Fellowship, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines (2012)

Foreign Language and Area Studies Graduate Fellowship, Southeast Asian Languages Summer Institute, University of Wisconsin, Madison. (2011)

Invited Talks and Lectures

Northeast Pacific Islands Studies Scholars Workshop, “Nuestros salvajes filipinos: Settler Encounters with Negro-Indigeneidad in Mexico and the Philippines,” Wesleyan University (for May 2022)

“Power and Agency through Transregional Storytelling in Latin(x) America and the Caribbean,” Latin American and Caribbean Studies Symposium, Worcester Polytechnic University, MA (April 2022)

“Intimate Crossings: Asian and Latinx Literatures and Futures,” Consortium of Studies on Race, Migration, and Sexuality, Dartmouth College (2022)

“The Mestizo Philippines,” Department of Spanish, Wellesley College (2021)

“Disruptions, Undoings, and Survival: Collapsing the Epistemic Boundaries Between Latinx and Latin American Studies,” Hemispheric Americas: Race, Power, and Space, University of Southern California (2021)