Kale B Fajardo

Photo of Kale B Fajardo

Contact Me


American Studies
104 Scott Hall

72 Pleasant Street SE

I'm an Associate Professor of American Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. (Pronouns: He/Him/His.) I received my PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. In graduate school, I focused on visual anthropology, postcolonial studies, gender/sexuality studies, and Asian American Studies. I have a Bachelors of Science degree in Human Development Studies from Cornell University, with concentrations in Southeast Asian Studies and feminist studies. I'm currently working on my second book entitled, _Fish Stories: Photos/Essays from St. Malo to Manila Bay_. In this transnational research project, I engage with the “environmental humanities” and I'm also returning to my past training and passions in visual anthropology. In _Fish Stories_, I photograph, write about and theorize the intimacies and interconnections between “Filipinx, fish, and marine ecologies” (historical and contemporary), while also engaging with anthropological debates about the “border zones between art and anthropology practices” (Schneider and Wright, 2010). My methodological (re-)orientation (that is, moving towards art/photography-as-anthropology) is also informed by Tim Ingold’s notion that “artists and anthropologists come to know…through an art of inquiry that emphasizes thinking through making” (2013) and Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov’s concept of "ethnographic conceptualism," which he defines as “ethnography conducted as conceptual art.” _Fish Stories_ is also a homage to Allan Sekula and his book Fish Story (1995). In _Fish Stories_, I include original photographs and written essays on “siyokoys” (mermen) in Philippine visual media and folklore to theorize human-fish-sea intimacies and queer/trans masculinities. I also analyze and engage with ethno-historical images and photos of "Manila-Men” sailors and fishermen and their descendants in the bayous and coastal areas of Louisiana. These fishing grounds are adjacent to the contemporary “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico (which cannot sustain marine life.) I also analyze and engage with old snapshot photographs of Filipino migrant workers who worked in salmon canneries in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Currently, these are sites where salmon populations have significantly decreased. Lastly, in _Fish Stories_, I return to the Philippines to photograph and write about contemporary fisherfolk in coastal Bulacan Province and the broader Manila Bay Area. Fisherfolk in Manila Bay are stressed by global warming, rising seas, depleted fisheries, urbanization and mega-regionalization, and marine pollution. On campus, I'm active in Asian Studies + Environmental Humanities (ASEH) programming at the Environmental Humanities Initiative.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Cultural Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA.
  • M.A.: Cultural Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA.
  • B.S.: Human Development Studies, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Curriculum Vitae


  • gender and sexuality studies, queer theory, queer of color critique, masculinity studies, transgender studies, Philippine Studies, Filipinix Studies, Asian American Studies, American Studies, Global Studies, globalization studies, migration studies, conceptual ethnographic practice, (UC) Santa Cruz School of Ethnography, visual cultures, photography, environmental humanities, human-fish relations.
Courses Taught
  • Contemporary Perspectives on Asian America: Space/Place in Asian America
  • Contemporary Perspectives on Asian America: Focus on Asian American Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Gender, Sexuality, and Politics in the US: Focus on Hawaii, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico
  • Comparative Genders and Sexualities: Sissies, Sex Workers, and Seamen
  • America's Diverse Cultures: Natives, Migrants and the Making of Minnesota
  • Freshman Seminar: Reading the Mississippi River: Place, Race, Gender, and Empire
  • The US in International Perspective: Focus on Ocean Worlds
  • US on Migrant Planet
  • Critical Perspectives on American Dreams
  • Second Book Project: Fish Stories: Photos/Essays from St. Malo to Manila Bay. In progress.
  • Co-Editor (with Martin F. Manalansan and Alice Hom), Q and A (Queer and Asian) 2.0. This is a queer Asian/American Studies anthology that includes scholarship, personal writing, and creative writing. (Under review, Temple University Press.)
  • “Aquapelagic Malolos: Re-Imagining Malolos, Bulacan Philippines in the Contexts of Nationalism, Climate Change, Urbanization,” in Water and the Humanities: Transforming Currents for Uncertain Futures. Ingacio Lopez Calvo and Rina Faletti, Editors. (Under review, University of California Press.)
  • “Decolonizing Manila-Men and St. Maló, Louisiana: A Queer Postcolonial Asian American Critique” in Filipino Studies: Palimpsests of Nation and Diaspora. Martin F. Manalansan IV and Augusto Espiritu, Eds. New York University Press, 2016.
  • Fajardo, Kale Bantigue, Deirdre de la Cruz (Ed.). "“The Filipino Seaman” ." Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity (2013):
  • First Book: Filipino Crosscurrents: Oceanographies of Seafaring, Masculinities, and Globalization. (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2013. (Reprint). First published by the University of Minnesota Press, 2011.
  • “Queering and Transing the Great Lakes: Filipino/a Tomboy Masculinities and Manhoods Across Waters” GLQ: Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies, Special Issue: Queering the Middle: Race, Region, and a Queer Midwest, Martin F. Manalansan, Chantal Nadeau, Richard Rodriguez, and Siobhan Somerville, Eds, 2014, Vol.20(1), 115-140.
  • Fajardo, Kale Bantigue. "Transportation: Translating Filipino/Filipino American Tomboy Masculinities Through Seafaring and Migration." GLQ 14:2/3
  • Fajardo, Kale Bantigue. ""Of Galleons and Globalization"." Mains™l Haul: A Journal of Pacific Maritime History 38(1-2) (2002): 61-65.
  • U of Minnesota Grant-in-Aid of Scholarship and Artistry, summer 2012 - winter 2015
  • Imagine Grant, 2012 - 2014
  • Insitute for Advanced Study Residential Fellowship (UMN, Twin Cities), January 2009 - May 2009
  • President's Faculty Multicultural Research Award (UMN, Twin Cities), 2008 - 2009
  • Fulbright Dissertation Fellowship, Fall 1997 - Spring 1998