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Student Research Profile: Mimi Cagaitan

Mimi Cagaitan
Merzamie Sison "Mimi" Cagaitan, BA 2013
Student Reserach Profile: Merzamie Sison "Mimi" Cagaitan

My research conceptualizes the female body as a borderland that is grotesque after being wounded and divided. I synthesize works by Anzaldua and Bakhtin to project an image of a female body that bleeds when grated against transnational forces and subjected to processes of dynamic change. This representation allows the grotesque female body to be in continual engagement with “acts of becoming”, and places it in a profoundly ambivalent position between the processes of renewal and decay. In my thesis, I invoke Hall’s diasporic identities to further argue that the never completed quality of the female body points to a profound discontinuity stemming from trauma induced by slavery, transportation, colonization, and migration. I critically analyze the experiences of fictional female characters in order to trace a mobile trajectory that begins with the female body’s forced transportation; continues with its wounding from displacements; and ends with its transformation. I want to uncover how the constant movements of the female body come to mold not only a body that is grotesque but also a mind characterized by a diasporic identity. I hypothesize that the female body’s porous quality and ability to overcome boundaries is what allows it to “live sin fronteras” and “be a crossroads."

BA in English: Language and Literature, 2013
Magna Cum Laude
UW English Department Honors
Teaching in Korea on a Fulbright Fellowship 2013-14


  • Arts & Sciences Dean's Medalist, 2013
  • Fulbright Teaching Fellowship 2013-14
  • Ronald E. McNair Scholar 2011-13
  • Mary Gates Research Scholar 2012-13
  • MacRae Undergraduate Grant for Peace, Reconciliation, and Conflict Resolution 2012-13
  • Academic Excellence Award 2012
  • Early Identification Program (EIP) Presidential Scholar 2012


  • "Soft Slips of Flesh: The Female Body as a Place of Sexual Violence, and Site of Economic, Social, and Cultural Exchanges," UW Undergraduate Research Symposium, Seattle, May 2012
  • "Transcending Fractured Geopolitical and Metaphoric Borders: The Mobile Trajectory of the Grotesque Female Body’s Transformation from Object to Subject," Harvard University National Collegiate Research Conference, Cambridge, 2012
  • "Behind the Veils of Industry: The Filipina Mail-Order Bride as the Ultimate Western Male Fantasy," UW Undergraduate Research Symposium, Seattle, May 2013

More information about Mimi's research experiences can be found in the July 2013 issue of Perspectives.

Status of Research or Work: