R. Alexander Orquiza Jr.

Associate Professor

Contact Information:


Ruane Center for the Humanities 130


Ph.D. - The Johns Hopkins University

Area(s) of Expertise:

I am a historian of 20th-century American race, empire, and popular culture. My first book, Taste of Control: Food and the Filipino Colonial Mentality Under American Rule (Rutgers University Press 2020) tells what happened when American colonizers began to influence what Filipinos ate, how they cooked, and how they perceived their national cuisine. Through the topic of food, Taste of Control explores how, despite lasting less than fifty years, the American colonial occupation of the Philippines left psychological scars that have not yet completely healed, leading many Filipinos to believe that their traditional cooking practices, crops, and tastes were inferior.

I am currently working on my second book, which examines how American popular culture commemorated American empire in music, architecture, literature, sports, food, and teaching. It will show how immigrants, racial and ethnic minority activists, and anti-imperialists pushed back against who could be called “American.”

I have also researched the intersections of modern food culture, the media, and education. See for example “Old Recipes, Old Tastes: Representations of Southeast Asia in Gourmet magazine after the Vietnam War” (Food and Foodways 2019); “Kitchen as a Classroom: Domestic Science in Philippine Bureau of Education Magazines, 1906-1932” (Asia Pacific Perspectives 2016); and “Lechon with Heinz, Lea & Perrins with Adobo: Advertisements and the Filipino relationship with American food” from Eating Asian America (NYU Press 2013).

I have contributed essays to Oxford University Press on Filipino cuisine in New York City in Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover's Companion to New York City (2015) and MIT University Press on the creation of the contemporary Philippine food system in Acquired Tastes: Stories about the Origins of Modern Food (forthcoming).

My work has been supported by the Fulbright Program, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the W.M. Keck Foundation.

You can follow me on Instagram at @RAOrquiza

Detailed CV