Skip Navigation

Nerissa S. Balce

Associate Professor of Asian American Studies

Associate faculty | Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Affiliate faculty | Media, Art, Culture and Technology Advanced Graduate Certificate Program

Affiliate faculty | Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Affiliate faculty | Center for the Study of Inequalities, Social Justice and Policy

 Nerissa Balce


  • Biography



    Nerissa S. Balce is a cultural studies scholar. Her research focuses on race, gender, state violence and popular culture in the U.S. and the Philippines. She is co-curator of the online art project, Dark Lens / Lente ng Karimlan: The Filipino Camera in Duterte’s Republic, an online exhibition of Philippine photographs of injustice and loss featuring commissioned poems and captions by 40 scholars and artists from the Philippines and North America. Dark Lens is currently on view at SUNY Stony Brook's Center for the Study of Inequalities, Social Justice and Policy website. The Dark Lens co-curators are Pia Arboleda, Director of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s Center for Philippine Studies, and writer Francine Marquez of Manila Art Allies. The editors of Dark Lens are Sarita Echavez See and Clare Counihan from the Center of Art and Thought.

    Balce is the author of the book, Body Parts of Empire: Visual Abjection, Filipino Images and the American Archive (University of Michigan Press 2016 and Ateneo de Manila University Press 2017), winner of the 2018 Best Book award in Cultural Studies from the Filipino Section of the Association for Asian American Studies. The book was also a finalist for the best book in the social sciences for the 2018 Philippine National Book Awards. She was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. She received a B.A. in Literature and an M.A. in Philippine Studies from De La Salle University, Manila. She worked as a journalist in Manila, writing articles on Philippine literature, politics, culture and the arts. She took doctoral studies at the University of California-Berkeley on a Fulbright scholarship, where she received a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies. Before joining SUNY Stony Brook’s Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, she received a postdoc at the University of Oregon’s Department of Ethnic Studies and taught at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst’s Comparative Literature Program. At Stony Brook, she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on Asian American literature and popular culture. Her essays have appeared in the Asian American Writers' Workshop blog, Verge: Studies in Global AsiasJournal of Asian American Studies, Social Text Peace Review Hitting Critical Mass and in anthologies such as "Positively No Filipinos Allowed": Building Communities and Discourse (Temple UP 2006) and  Resource Guide to Asian American Literature (Modern Language Association 2001).

  • Publications



     Body Parts of Empire    Body Parts of Empire: Visual Abjection, Filipino Images and the American Archive (University of Michigan Press 2016 and Ateneo de Manila University Press 2017).



    "Exposing EJKs and the State: A Collaborative Review of Dark Lens/ Lente ng Karimlan: The Filipino Camera in Duterte's Republic." Co-written with media scholar Sarita Echavez See. Verge: Studies in Global Asias 6:1, U Minnesota Press, Spring 2020. 2-6.

    "Laughter Against the State: On Humor, Postcolonial Satire and Asian American Short Fiction." Journal of Asian American Studies, Johns Hopkins U Press, February 2016. 47-73.

    "The Filipina’s Breast: Savagery, Docility and the Erotics of the American Empire.” Social Text, Duke U Press, June 2006. 89-110. 

    "American Insecurity and Radical Filipino Community Politics.” Co-authored with Robyn Rodriguez (Sociology Department, Rutgers University). Peace Review, Taylor & Francis, 16:2 June 2004. 131-140. 


    Book chapters

    "Filipino Bodies, Lynching and the Language of Empire." In Positively No Filipinos Allowed: Building Communities and Discourse edited by Antonio Tiongson, Ed Gutierrez and Rick Gutierrez. Philadelphia: Temple U Press, 2006. 43-60.

    "Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn." In Resource Guide to Asian American Literature. Ed. Sau-ling Cynthia Wong and Stephen H. Sumida. New York: Modern Language Association, 2001. 54-65.

    "Filipino American Literature." Co-authored with Jean Vengua Gier. In New Immigrant Literatures in the United States, A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage. Ed. Alpana Sharma Knippling. Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1996. 67-89.


    Book reviews

    Solicited review for American Historical Review. Rebecca Tinio McKenna's American Imperial Pastoral: The Architecture of US Colonialism in the Philippines (U Chicago 2017). Volume 124, February 2019. 256-257.

    "Citizenship and the Immigrant Body." Solicited review for Women's Studies Quarterly. June 2010. 327-334.


    On-line essays

    "Fighting the Aswang: Seeing state terror and resistance in Alyx Ayn Arumpac's new documentary on Duterte's extrajudicial killings." Co-authored with Gary Devilles (Ateneo de Manila University) and Ferdinand m. Lopez (U of Toronto). Published in the "Open City" page of the Asian American Writers' Workshop blog. July 9, 2020

    "Face: Necropolitics and the US Imperial Photography Complex." Reprint of book chapter for the on-line exhibit, Empire's Eyes: Colonial Stereographs of the Philippines. In the multi-media blog Center for Art and Thought. UC Riverside. March-April 2018.

    "The Meanings of Marrow." In the multi-media blog Center for Art and Thought, "Filipino Food Worlds" issue. UC Riverside. May 1, 2014.

    "Ten Questions for [Filipino American novelist] Gina Apostol." In the Manila cultural blog [Spot Philippines]. Manila, Philippines. May 1, 2014. 

  • Selected Lectures


    1. Beyond the ‘Atrocity Photograph’: On the Decolonized Eye and Filipino Images.” Online lecture for the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook (HISB). April 5, 2022
    2. "Smuggled Lenses: The Politics of Documentary Photography at Manzanar." A public online lecture and discussion with Vince Schleitwiler (University of Washington, Seattle). Moderated by Kevin Gray (Fenimore Art Museum). Hosted by the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, NY. May 15, 2021.
    3. "Filipino Languages of Freedom." A public online lecture and discussion with Jovito Cariño (U of Santo Tomas Manila). Hosted by the Writers Union of the Philippines/ Unyon ng Mga Manunulat ng Pilipinas. April 24, 2021.
    4. "Filipina Abjection: Empire and Fascism in Duterte's Republic." A public online lecture for Rice University's Chao Center for Asian Studies. April 1, 2021. Youtube link here
    5. “Their Manzanar Cameras: The American Photographs of Toyo Miyatake and Ansel Adams.” A public lecture for the Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, NY. August 15, 2020. Cancelled.
    6. On Photography and Media Literacy in Our Digital Era.” A public online lecture for the PUP/ Polytechnic University of the Philippines. Santa Mesa, Manila, Philippines. July 30, 2020.
    7. Duterte’s Drug War: On Photographs and Figures of History.” With Gary Devilles (Ateneo de Manila University) and Ferdinand Lopez (University of Santo Tomas, Manila). At the University of Connecticut’s Forms of Authoritarianism conference. Sept. 20, 2018.
    8. Duterte’s Archive and the Emancipated Filipino Photographer.” At Cornell University’s Center for Southeast Asia. Kings and Dictators conference, April 18, 2018.
    9. - 13. "Seeing Necropolitics: The Work of Death in Philippine Photographs." SIX invited book talks/lectures for: 

    14. "Fashion and Fascism: The Regime of Blood and Beauty." Invited lecture, with Associate Professor Ferdinand Lopez (University of Santo Tomas, Manila) in celebration of the 2017 College of Arts and Letters Week, at the University of the Philippines (UP), Diliman, Quezon City, Manila. Hosted by the UP Department of Art and the College of Arts and Letters. April 7, Friday, 2017.

    15-16. “Fascinating Fascism.” TWO invited lectures at: 

    17. “Colonial Images: Our Dark Heritage.” Invited lecture at 7th J. Elizalde Navarro Art Criticism Workshop on Cultural Heritage, organized by the University of Santo Tomas-Manila in Baguio City, Philippines. July 1, 2015.

    18. “The Dystopian Imagination.” Invited lecture at Silliman University, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, Philippines. Hosted by the English Department and the College of Arts and Sciences. June 22, 2015.



  • Selected Presentations


    1. Online panelist for the event, "U.S. Empire in Asia and the Pacific: Repression and Resistance." Moderated by Sigrid Schmalzer (UMass Amherst), with Moon-ho Jung (U of Washington) and Brian Hioe (New Bloom Journal).
    2. A panel for the year long event, the 2022-2023 Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series, "Confronting Empire." Hosted by the Department of History at UMass Amherst. Nov. 1, 2022.   
    3. Online panelist for the webinar, Racism and the Filipino Immigrant Experience. An online panel sponsored by the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Province and the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Working Group. Hosted by Fr. Julian Jagudilla, with Michael Viola (St. Mary’s College)  and Dr. Joy Sales (Cal State U Los Angeles). May 19, 2022
    4. Online panelist for the webinar, The Afterlife of the American Empire. An online panel organized by the UC Berkeley Alumni Association. Hosted by Fritzi de Mesa, with Ricky Punzalan (U Michigan), Dylan Rodriguez (UC Riverside), and Neferti Tadiar (Barnard and Columbia University). April 14, 2022.
    5. Online presentation, "We Have Always Fought For Justice." For the SUNY Stony Brook's Department of Asian and Asian American Studies event, Breaking Silence: A Public Forum on Anti-AAPI Racism. May 5, 2021. 
    6. Online panelist/ moderator for the post-performance event of Black Henry, a historical play by Filipino American writer Luis H. Francia. Directed by Claro de los Reyes. Youtube link here. Sponsored by the NYU King Juan Carlos Center in conjunction with the academic conference Mactan500 at NYU. April 25, 2021.
    7. Online panelist for the eventPrecarious City: A Panel on Filipino Films and Fascism. With cultural studies scholars Gary Devilles (Ateneo de Manila University, Manila) and Ferdie Lopez (U of Toronto). Dec 2, 2020.
    8. Online panelist for the event Decolonizing Filipinx History at the Time of Black Lives Matter Movements. Organized by Ateneo de Manila University Alumni for Social Justice. August 6, 2020.
    9. Online panelist for the event, In the Dictator’s Aftermath: A Book Launch and Conversation. An event for the new short story collection of Filipina American writer Eileen Tabios. Organized by Paloma Press and poet Aileen Cassinetto, Poet laureate of San Mateo County, California. July 18, 2020.
    10. Online panelist for the event, Reality Check: The Creation of “Aswang.” An event to discuss the new drug killings documentary by Filipina filmmaker Alyx Aynd Arumpac. Hosted by Cheche Lazaro and Lourd De Veyra. July 19, 2020.
    11. Online panelist, “Seeing the Philippine State.” For the online community forum, Quarantine Diaries: The Impact of Covid-19 in the Philippines and the Northeast region of the U.S. Organized by Malaya Northeast. May 30, 2020.
    12. Discussant for the panel, “Pilipinx/American Literature and its Troubled Politics of Ascriptive Recognition.” Organized by Alden Sajor Marte-Wood, Assistant professor of English, Rice University, Texas. For the 2020 Association for Asian American Studies annual conference in Washington DC. April 9-11, 2020. Cancelled.
    13. Discussant for  Associate Professor Shirley Lim's book talk, Anna May Wong: Performing the Modern. Organized by the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook and the Department of History. SUNY Stony Brook. September 18, 2019.
    14. Co-panelist with Assistant Professor Abena Asare, Africana Studies. For the event, The Unbearable Whiteness of Human Rights. Organized by the Humanities Institute lecture series, SUNY Stony Brook. February 20, 2019.
    15. Moderator & discussant, film screening of PJ Raval’s documentary, Call Her Ganda (2018). At the conference Insular Possessions: Imperial Legacies of 1898. New York University, King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, November 16, 2018
    16. Co-panelist, Chinese & Diasporic Food, Identity, and Memory. SUNY Stony Brook event with Professors Shirley Lim, E.K. Tan and Tim August, for the Melville Library’s Special Collections and University Archives. Sept. 24, 2018.
    17. Co-panelist, “Dark Lens: The Filipino Camera in Duterte’s Republic.” With Mr. Elmer Labog, chairman of the Kilusang Mayo Uno/ May One Movement of the Philippines. For the panel, Countering Fascism in the Philippines. Sponsored by the SUNY Stony Brook’s Center for the Study of Inequalities, Social Justice and Public Policy. Sept. 13, 2018.


Back to Faculty List