Juan Fernandez

PhD Candidate


My work focuses on the histories of masculinity in the highlands of the northern Philippines in the early twentieth century. My dissertation, "Manly Encounters," examines how ethnographic fieldwork conducted by the earliest generation of professional American anthropologists was intertwined with their attempts to perform (to varying degrees of success) their approximation of Indigenous Philippine masculinity. It is through an examination of these anthropologists' fieldnotes, diaries, and correspondencein addition to their published ethnographic workthat I argue that there is a simultaneous, reciprocal, but nevertheless hierarchical construction of masculinity of both the anthropologist and their Indigenous subjects. 

The dissertation is part of a larger project that analyzes the emergence of the category of the Southeast Asian "headhunter"in the Philippines, but also in Malaysian and Indonesian Borneoin terms of its gendered dimensions and the almost invariable ascription of masculinity to the Indigenous peoples who once practiced it. 

Advisor:  Tamara Loos


Research Focus

  • The Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia
  • Gender & Sexuality
  • History of Photography
  • History of Anthropology 


"'From Savages to Soldiers': The Visual Transformation of the Igorot Headhunter in Dean C. Worcester's Philippine Photographs." Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints. (Forthcoming.)

(With Sophia Cuevas Mable and Imelda de Guzman Olvida). “Where Peasants Are Kings: Food Sovereignty in the Tagbanua Traditional Subsistence System.” Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies 8, no. 1 (2015): 27–44.