As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are temporarily closed. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our website and social media.

Profile profile for GonzalvesTh

Theodore S. Gonzalves

  • Ph.D., Comparative Culture, University of California, Irvine
  • M.A., Political Science, San Francisco State University
  • B.S., Political Science, Santa Clara University

Theodore S. Gonzalves is a scholar of comparative cultural studies, focusing on the experiences of Asian American / Filipino American communities. He has taught in the United States (California, Hawai'i, and Maryland), Spain, and the Philippines.

Theo is Curator in the Division of Cultural and Community Life at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. He served as the twenty-first president of the Association for Asian American Studies.

In addition to several articles, book chapters, and reports, Theo’s publications include Stage Presence: Conversations with Filipino American Performing Artists (2007), The Day the Dancers Stayed: Performing in the Filipino/American Diaspora (2009), Carlos Villa and the Integrity of Spaces (2011), and, with Roderick Labrador, Filipinos in Hawai'i (2011).

In the field of performing arts, Theo served on the advisory board for Kumu Kahua Theatre in Honolulu and Bindlestiff Studio, a San Francisco performing arts venue; co-founded the artist-run recording label, Jeepney Dash Records; played keyboards for the Legendary Bobby Banduria; and toured extensively as the musical director for the theater troupe, tongue in A mood. Theo's musical work has been featured at concerts such as the Asian American Jazz Festival and performances at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. He has also written, produced, and performed several scores for independent film projects.

Generous support for Theo's scholarly and creative works include a U.S. Fulbright scholar award, a Moeson fellowship at the Library of Congress, a senior fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution, a Meet the Composer Award, and a Visiting Artist and Scholar fellowship at the American Academy in Rome (declined).

Theo was associate professor of American Studies at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. At UMBC, he also served as chair of the department. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Research Specialties: 
  • Comparative Cultural Studies
  • Filipino American and Asian Pacific American History
  • Culture and the Performing Arts
  • Singing Truth to Power: A History of Paredon Records
  • Collected Works by tongue in A mood (with Allan S. Manalo)
  • The Craft of Exile: Essays on Filipino American Cultural Histories
Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition: 
  • 2013, Smithsonian Senior Fellow
  • 2009, Moeson Fellow, Library of Congress
  • 2004-2005, U.S. Fulbright Scholar (Philippines)
  • 2002, Meet the Composer Award
Professional Affiliations: 
  • American Studies Association
  • Association for Asian American Studies (President, 2018-2020)


Migrant Musicians: Filipino Entertainers and the Work of Music Making. With R. Zamora Linmark, Karen Tongson, and Sarita Echavez See. Center for Art and Thought, 2013.
Carlos Villa and the Integrity of Spaces. Meritage Press, 2012.
Filipinos in Hawai'i. With Roderick N. Labrador. Arcadia Publishing, 2011.
The Day the Dancers Stayed: Performing in the Filipino/American Diaspora. Temple University Press, 2009.
Stage Presence: Conversations with Filipino American Performing Artists. Meritage Press, 2007.