Alex Orquiza

Alex Orquiza

(781) 283-2536
American Studies
B.A., University of California (Berkeley); M.S., University of Edinburgh; M.A., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University

R. Alexander D. Orquiza
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in American Studies

Cultural historian researching 20th century American empire and Philippine history.

My work focuses on the exchange of American and Filipino culture. I believe food gives insight to the subtle aspects of everyday life. I use food in my work to examine the economic, political, and social forces that shaped American empire in the Philippines  in the early-20th century.

My writing reflects the belief that food can help us explore the past. My chapter in Eating Asian America: A Food Studies Reader (NYU Press 2013) highlights American attempts to change Filipino society and culture by teaching western cuisine in Philippine public schools. My forthcoming book, A Pacific Palate: Food, Empire, the United States and the Philippines, 1898-1935, analyzes food consumption and production changes in the Philippines during the American Period.

I am also currently working on other American cultural history projects. I am completing an article on American media’s reception to Southeast Asian cuisine after 1965. I am also working on a medical history of leprosy treatment in the Philippine Islands and an urban history of the American West through the lens of major league baseball expansion after 1958.

I am deeply committed to the art of teaching and the craft of writing. My past instructors have challenged my world view and my ability to explain myself clearly. I pride myself in doing the same for my students. Thus, I teach American culture in a global context and focus on the voices of ethnic minorities and immigrants to the United States.

Courses I teach include:

  • Contemporary Asian American Immigration through Food, 1865-present
  • The United States and the Philippines, 1898-1946

I am a member of the American Historical Association, the American Studies Association, the Association of Asian American Studies, the European Southeast Asian Studies Society, and the Association for Asian Studies.

Outside of the classroom, I enjoy running and exploring Boston’s used bookstores (I like New England Mobile Book Fair the most, with Brattle Books a close second). I am a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York and sometimes make chicken stocks to break up my writing. After a lifetime of supporting the San Francisco Giants, the baseball gods rewarded me this past summer with a position with the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball League, the most prestigious collegiate summer league in the country.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Department of American Studies
Pendleton East
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481

Yoon Sun Lee
Program Director

Tel: 781.283.2561


In the News

Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow Alex Orquiza is quoted in a BBC News article: "Philippine chefs look to take national cuisine mainstream."