Department of Social Science
Associate Professor of Social Science
Professor Habal has been teaching at SJSU for over ten years. She teaches across disciplinary lines to engage Filipino history, Asian American Studies, feminist theory, and oral history.
Professor Habal has a long history of involvement in local Asian American communities. Her first book is about the history of the International Hotel in San Francisco titled San Francisco's International Hotel: Mobilizing the Filipino American Community in the Anti-Eviction Movement (Temple University Press, 2007). “The legacy of the I-Hotel needs to be remembered," says Professor Habal, who worked as an organizer of the I-Hotel Tenants Association in the mid-70s.
The International was a seasonal home to generations of manongs, the Filipino agricultural laborers who worked in local canneries, farms, and factories since the 1910s. Prohibited by law from owning land or businesses, Filipinos found a home base in the I-Hotel, along with a thriving Manilatown community stretching from the ten block area from Kearny and California Street to Columbus Avenue in San Francisco. Up until the mid-70s, the International continued to provide low-income housing for a senior Filipino community of retired workers, and war veterans. In 1968, the International was marked for demolition and the remaining residents were evicted. Local Asian American and civil rights activists organized and staved off eviction for almost five years, during which the I-Hotel again flourished as a community center. In 1973, however, the hotel changed hands and was again marked for demolition. Despite several years of legal action and organized protests, the men were forcibly evicted and the hotel razed in 1977.
Professor Habal is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization responsible for a new series of projects around the site of the former International Hotel, including the International Senior Housing Complex, a community center, and historic museum.
A first generation college graduate, Professor Habal has four children and four grandchildren.
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Ph.D., History, Emphasis on Feminist Theory and Research, University of California at Davis, 2003
M.A. History, University of California at Davis, 1993
B.A. History with Honors, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, 1991
WOMS 10. Perspectives on Sex & Gender
AAS 125. Filipino American Experience in the United States
AAS 33B. Asian Americans in the United States: Historical & Political Process
WOMS 193. Women and Minorities in the Social Sciences
Most Recent Publications:
San Francisco's International Hotel: Mobilizing the Filipino American Community in the Anti-Eviction Movement. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2007.
“Coming Home to Manilatown: Resurrecting the International Hotel."Community Matters: A Reader for Writers, ed. Marjorie Ford and Elizabeth Schave. New York: Longman, 2003.
“How I Became a Revolutionary,” Legacy
to Liberation: Politics and Culture of Revolutionary Asian America,
ed. Fred Ho. San
Francisco: Big Red Media and AK Press, 2000.
Professional & Community Service
Board of Directors, Manilatown Heritage Foundation, 1997 to present
Project Manager, Manilatown California Project, 2005-2006
Member, Filipino Civil Rights Advocates, January 1994 to present
Officer, and Corresponding Secretary, American Federal State County Municipal Employees (AFSCME), 1984-5, Member, 1981-1991
Member, Katipunan ng mga Demokratikong Pilipino (Union of Democratic Filipinos), 1973-1982
Organizer, International Hotel Tenants Association, 1975-79
Founding Member, Search to Involve Pilipino American (SIPA), 1970-71
Recent Talks & Presentations
“Coming Home: Rebuilding the International Hotel.” Panel, Manilatown Heritage Foundation, San Francisco Public Library Main Branch, San Francisco, August 4, 2003.
“Asian American Community Work.” Guest lecture, Asian American Studies 81C, Stanford University, May 1, 2002.
“Snapshots of Asian America: a Look at the Movement’s Spirit and Legacy: Asian American Activism in the 1960s and 1970s.” Panel, Asian American Movement Project and KQED, KQED San Francisco, May 23, 2002.
“Cesar Chavez and Philip Vera Cruz.” Panel, Chavez Celebration, San Jose State University, April 16, 2002.
“The International Hotel and Community Politics.” Panel, Community Politics in the Next Century, Association of Asian American Studies, University of Arizona, Scottsdale, Arizona, May 24-28, 2000.
“Manilatown and Manongs.” Speaker and Panel Presentation, “In My Father’s Eyes,” Alvarado Photography Project, San Jose State University, CA, May 3, 2000.
UC Davis, History Department Block Grant, 1996-97, 1997-98
UC Davis, History Department Reed-Smith Funds, spring 1996
UC Davis, Graduate Studies Research Mentorship, 1992-3^Back to top