Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Call for Papers

Call for Submissions

ALON: The Journal for Filipinx American and Diasporic Studies



The year 2021 marks the 500th anniversary of the rise and spread of Western civilization primarily as a result of the opening of global trade routes that were made possible by Spanish and Portuguese exploratory navigations. From 1519 to 1521, Ferdinand Magellan’s fleet of five ships passed underneath South America to sail over what would later be called the Pacific Ocean, eventually arriving on the island of Guam and afterwards, the Philippines. Such historic westward route resulted in the first circumnavigation of the earth, later completed by Juan Sebastian Elcano, and, in many ways, one that facilitated new trade relationships that linked old and new worlds, braided imperial centers with distant colonies, and fueled European worldwide expansion that was to last for more than four centuries. Magellan’s innovative navigational skills would earn him fame as the one who led the most important maritime voyage to circle the globe during his time, a legacy that continues to exert an impact on the histories of worldwide travel in connection with the rise and fall of European conquest.

From another perspective, the year 1521 commemorates both the first recorded arrival of Europeans in the Philippine archipelago as well as the defeat of the colonizing Spanish forces against Mactan Island’s Datu Lapulapu and his warriors. On March 16, 1521, an expedition sponsored by the king of Spain and led by the Portuguese navigator Magellan to search for a westward route to the East Indies, reached Guam and later, the vicinity of Samar, eventually settling on the island of Homonhon. Magellan befriended the local rajahs there and converted their people into Christianity. But a month later, Magellan was met with resistance by Lapulapu, whose troops overwhelmed him and his men in a battle and ultimately killed him. Otherwise known as the Battle of Mactan, this event resulted in the retreat of the Spanish crew away from the islands and the eventual delay of Spanish colonization for 44 years, when Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrived in Cebu to become the first governor of the Spanish East Indies. It likewise marks the beginning of island resistance against European conquest and colonization that culminates in 1898 with the formal end of Spanish rule as a result of the Spanish-American War and the Philippine revolution.

How do we want to commemorate these events in the present? What should be the overarching narrative of these histories? Who are its winners and who are its losers? Must we emphasize here a history of a feat of global navigation? Or a history of local resistance against overwhelming odds? Should we celebrate the origins and legacies of globalization? Or must we recognize instead the beginning of island conquest by Europeans that was to last for more than 300 years hence? What do we want to celebrate in this anniversary? What is its significance in the lives of Filipinxs and their colonizers today?

We invite the submission of essays and other means of expression (visual, aural, etc.) to reflect on, criticize, or celebrate “500 years of global navigation and (anti)conquest,” with the parentheses in the “anti” in the naming of our thematic emphasis to highlight as well as recognize the ambiguities and ongoing questions related to our collective memories of colonization and the resistances forged against it. We welcome diverse forms and narratives of engagement to provide spaces within which we can collectively ruminate on such a fraught set of histories of global navigation, conquest, and anti-conquest not to arrive at a singular, unitary, and stable set of answers and solutions to our historical reckonings, but to identify, recognize, and affirm the complex, dynamic, and tentative ways in which we transact with our community’s pasts, presents, and futures.

Original article submissions should be 10,000-11,000 words in length and adhere to the most recent edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. More specific submission guidelines can be found in our website. Original non-article submissions will be handled on a case-to-case basis. Send queries to and submissions to

Deadline: May 1, 2021.