Core 100 would like to thank Professor Lara Saguisag, an Associate Professor in the English Department, for her time and effort to produce a lecture for the Fall 2021 Core Lecture Series.

Title of the Lecture: “E is for Empire: Children’s Books and the U.S. Colonization of the Philippines”

“E is for Empire” considers how children’s books and other popular cultural forms produced in the United States in the early 1900s responded to and participated in the U.S. imperial project. By examining comics series such as Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland and the Stratemeyer syndicate’s Old Glory series, we see the ways children’s cultural forms engaged in promoting U.S. expansionism. More specifically, these materials reveal how contemporary notions of race and racial difference were used to rationalize the U.S. colonization of the Philippines.


Lara Saguisag is Associate Professor of English at the College of Staten Island. She teaches courses on children’s and young adult literature, science fiction and fantasy, and comics and graphic novels. Her book Incorrigibles and Innocents: Constructing Childhood and Citizenship in Progressive Era Comics (Rutgers 2018) received the Charles Hatfield Book Prize from the Comics Study Society, the Ray and Pat Browne Award from the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, and an Eisner nomination for Best Academic/Scholarly Work. Her current book project, tentatively titled When Oil and Childhood Mix, examines the relationships between children’s literature and fossil fuels.

Additional Resources (optional):

Kissam, Elizabeth. “The Forgotten History of an African American Soldier Turned Rebel Leader in the Philippines.” HuffPost. December 6, 2017. Accessed 25 October 2021.

“Literature of the Spanish-American War: Mark Twain.” The World of 1898: The Spanish American War. Library of Congress. June 22, 2011. Accessed 25 October 2021.

“The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902.” Office of the Historian. U.S. Department of State. Accessed 25 October 2021.

Reyes Churchill, Bernadita. “The Philippine-American War (1899-1902).” National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Accessed 25 October 2021.

Silva, John L. “Little Brown Brothers’ St. Louis Blues: The Philippine Exposition, 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.” Positively Filipino. Reprinted from Filipinas Magazine, October 1994. Accessed October 25, 2021.

By the Division of Academic Affairs