Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies in Culture

Second Department


Reader 1

David Roselli

Reader 2

Joyce Lu

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© 2013 Kayla Dalsfoist


This thesis explores the way in which it is possible to undermine dominant colonial power structures through the figure of the organic intellectual. In the context of this work, the figure of the organic intellectual is the Filipino American playwright, who creates characters and worlds that expose the fragmented identities of the postcolonial condition following both Spanish and American occupation. This thesis focuses on Han Ong and Ralph Peña, two Filipino American playwrights who are well suited to the role of instigating change because they embrace the cracks and fissures brought on from years of trying to reconcile disparate identities within an often insecure self and transform those disjointed regions into something beautiful, and above all, worth examining further. By creating works that allow literal embodiment of postcolonial discourse, Filipino American playwrights are able to articulate issues and foster awareness for all involved in the production of the play, whether it be through a performative or spectatorial perspective.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.