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Michael C. Hawkins, PhD  

Chair of the History Department at Creighton University & Author of "Semi-Civilized: The Moro Village"

Michael Hawkins is the current chair of the Department of History at Creighton University. He is a full professor and the author of numerous books and articles on American empire in the Philippines, with an emphasis on American rule over Filipino Muslims. Hawkins best known works are, "Making Moro: Imperial Historicism and American Military Rule in the Philippines Muslim South" and "Semi-Civilized: The Moro Village" at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 1904.

Hawkins is currently working on a collection of true crime stories in the Southern Philippines during the American colonial period. His research is filled with engrossing and thought-provoking stories and analysis that leaves listeners astounded, informed, and excited to learn more.

Hawkins is an animated and dynamic speaker, mixing compelling historical research and insights with contemporary applications. Hawkins has over a decade and a half of teaching experience and has been featured on numerous podcasts and at speaking events over the course of his career.

Speech Topics

The Filipino 14

The Amazing Story of An All-Star Filipino Baseball Team and Their Barnstorming Tour of the US in 1914" - American imperialists frequently used athletic performance as powerful metric to gauge the civilizational status of their colonial subjects.

By 1914 the United States had begun a process known as "Filipinization" in the Philippines, which devolved more power to Filipinos in the colony. Interestingly, one of the greatest endorsements of the program was the outstanding performance of an all-star baseball team composed of a diverse collection of Filipinos from across the islands.

Their performance, and more importantly, their mastery of the jargon, culture, and strategies of America's pastime endeared them to American audiences and made a powerful symbolic statement regarding Filipino capabilities and eventual self-rule. This story is full of fascinating characters, amazing and humorous historical anecdotes, and powerful lessons regarding the history of empire, American culture, and athletics.

A Familiar Frontier

Colonial Efforts to Revive the American West in the Southern Philippines.

A Familiar Frontier: Colonial Efforts to Revive the American West in the Southern Philippines

1898-1914" - At the beginning of the 20th century Americans were filled with anxieties regarding the passing of the American west and the accompanying values that it was thought produce.

Courage, masculinity, resourcefulness, and rugged individualism were all becoming abstract values in need of revival and preservation. The American military's imperial occupation of the Southern Philippines seemed to provide an unprecedented opportunity to recapitulate the unique experience of the American West.

Thus, military officials and the local media began to produce popular images of a lost American Frontier, with all the romance, danger, and adventure one might find in a dime novel. A surprising byproduct of this, however, was an emerging view of Filipino Muslims, not as savages, but as rugged frontiersmen, embodying the values and character that Americans had once had, but had lost to industrial modernity.

Racing and Race: Moro Participation in the 'Savage Olympics' During the St. Louis World's Fair

This talk explores Filipino Muslim participation in a grand athletic event at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 designed to establish the physical inferiority of non-whites as measured by athletic performance.

It was part of a broader effort to racially categorized the diverse peoples that found themselves under American rule at the beginning of the 20th century. This event was held concomitant with the Olympic Games that same year. Despite the ridiculous and rigged nature of the event, Filipino Muslims challenged and unsettled American attempts at race making and revealed significant cracks and fissures in American discourses of race. This talk is thought-provoking and reveals underrepresented and astounding episode in American colonial history.

Sensational Savages: Marketing the Moro Exhibit at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition

This talk explores the ways in which Filipino Muslims were marketed to American patrons at the Exposition in St. Louis in 1904 by playing on sensational colonial tropes, as well as American fears, desires, and curiosities regarding the "exotic" in the early twentieth century.

It is filled with hilarious and shocking stories, as well as profound insights on the history of colonial exposition and its legacies today.

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