Paul Michael (Mike) Leonardo Atienza

Assistant Professor


Paul Michael (Mike) Leonardo Atienza, Ph.D. is a 2023 McCrone Promising Faculty Scholar Award recipient. He teaches courses in Asian/American Studies, transnational gender and sexuality studies, performance studies, media and cultural studies, and science and technology studies (STS). Their research interests include digital media, feminist technoscience, performances of the everyday, queer studies, affect, Philippine diaspora in the United States, Southeast Asian/American Studies, and the afterlives of U.S. empire.

Mike's current book project is a multi-sited ethnography that analyzes the lived experiences of queer Filipinx/a/o men in Manila and Los Angeles. Looking specifically at digital media platforms on mobile phones and the allure of instant and limitless intimate social bonds, Mike examines how transnational connections of technology and intimacy shape people’s notions of time and space, emotional attachments, self-presentation, and concepts of social difference such as race, class, sex, and gender.

They are currently co-editing a special issue of Humboldt Journal of Social Relations with Dr. Cinthya Ammerman Muñoz, assistant professor of Native American Studies at Cal Poly Humboldt focused on themes and concepts of place-based digital inquiry. The expected publish date is April 2025.

In 2023, Dr. Atienza co-edited a special issue of Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints with Dr. Kathleen Cruz Gutierrez, assistant professor of history at UC Santa Cruz. Titled Science and Technology Studies in the Philippines, the special issue includes seven curated works and two solicited commentaries that explore the limits and possibilities of a transnational and transgenerational science and technology studies (STS) focused on issues on and about the Philippines and its diaspora. They also published an article in a special section of the International Journal of Communications focused on Queer Cultures in Digital Asia and an essay in the edited collection Beauty and Brutality: Manila and its Global Discontents (Temple University Press).

Their scholarship has been published in The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, the 2022 Lambda Literary nominated anthology Q&A: Voices from Queer Asian North America (Temple University Press 2021), and Asian American Society: An Encyclopedia (Sage 2013). They also contributed a piece to Visualizing the Virus, an international digital project that showcases and investigates the diverse ways in which SARS-Cov2 and the COVID-19 pandemic is visualized and the inequalities it makes visible. 

Dr. Atienza published their first creative writing pieces in 2024. Three are included in With Love: What We Wish We Knew About Being Queer and Filipino in America edited by Dr. Dustin E. Domingo in collaboration with Kuwento Co. publishing. Another is part of CouRaGeouS Cuentos: A Journal of Counternarratives, Volume 7. 

A collaborator with performance artist Maria Arte Susya Purisima Tolentino (formerly Aloha Tolentino) or Ma. Arte for short, they use the form of drag to analyze transnational media representations and discourse about the lives of Filipina/o/x people. Tolentino interrogates in/visible Filipina/o/x embodiments that inform the artist's notions of femininity, mother/land, and the trans/migrant self. Ma. Arte was featured as a cover artist for Frontiers: A Journal of Women StudiesThey have performed at Marshall University, Northwestern University, UCLA, UC Riverside, the University of California Humanities Research Institute, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Their expertise led to an invitation to co-curate and exhibit titled In Her Closet-How to Make a Drag Queen at the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures. A classically-trained tenor, Mike is one of the original vocalists for the California-based keroncong musical group, Orkes Pantai Barat 

Mike was a certificate of merit recipient from NACADA, The Global Community for Academic Advising with ten years of student academic advising experience assisting several departments and programs in the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at the University of California, Riverside. They are currently the volunteer advisor to ADPIC, the Asian, Desi & Pacific Islander Collective who are the paid student staff organizers of the ADPI-MENA Center, a space on campus working toward a professional staff-led cultural center addressing the needs of Asian/American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Desi/South Asian, and Southwest Asian/Middle Eastern and North African students.

They currently serve on the steering board of HAPI, Humboldt Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity. He previously served as a board member for the Riverside Asian American Community Association where he developed and managed their college internship program. 


2023 “Introduction: STS in the Philippines,” with Kathleen Cruz Gutierrez. Philippine Studies: Historical & Ethnographic Viewpoints, v. 71 no. 1, p. 1-16.

2023 “‘I Look at How They Write Their Bio and I Judge From There’: Language and Class Among Middle-Class Queer Filipino Digital Socialities in Manila.” International Journal of Communication [S.l.], v. 17, p. 16, Mar. 2023. ISSN 1932-8036. Available at: <>.

2023 “Sociotechnical Infrastructures: Tracing Gay Dating App Socialities in Manila,” In Beauty and Brutality: Manila and its Global Discontents. Martin F. Manalansan IV, Robert G. Diaz, and Rolando Tolentino, eds. Temple University Press.

2021 “‘I think I’ll be more slutty:’ The Promise of Queer Filipinx/a/o/American Desire on Mobile Digital Apps in Los Angeles and Manila,” In Q&A: Voices from Queer Asian North America. Martin F. Manalansan IV, Kale Fajardo, and Alice Y. Hom, eds. Temple University Press.

***Finalist, 2022 Lambda Literary Awards, Best LGBTQ Anthology.

2018 “Censoring the Sexual Self: Reflections from an Ethnographic Study of Gay Filipinos on Mobile Dating Apps in Manila.” The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 19, no. 3: 231-244.

2014 “Internet.” In Asian American Society: An Encyclopedia, edited by Mary Yu Danico, vol. 9, 532-34. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

2014 Aloha Tolentino. "Artist Statement." Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 35, no. 2: 28-29.

Online Articles
2022 “Game, boys! Pinoy Boys Love series imitates middle-class Manila COVID life and dreams of queer love through digital intimacies,” In Visualizing the Virus. Eds. Sria Chatterjee, Genie Yoo, and Valquirya Borba. July 28,

2019 “Remaking Future Worlds: Possibilities from Cultures of Science and Technology,” In Illinois 150: The 21st Century Research University and the Public Good. Kevin Hamilton, ed. Urbana, IL: Windsor and Downs Press. Sept. 30, 2019. The Illinois Open Publishing Network (IOPN).


FALL 2024
CRGS 108: Power/Privilege: Gender and Race, Sex, Class
CRGS 331: Radical Futures: Race, Environment, and Social Justice
CRGS 482: Internship

CRGS 430: Decolonizing Genders and Sexualities?
CRGS 482: Internship

FALL 2023
CRGS 480: Special Topic - Intersectionality in STEM
CRGS 482: Internship
ES 302: Asian American Studies, Introduction

CRGS 430: Decolonizing Genders and Sexualities?
CRGS 482: Internship

FALL 2022
ES 302: Asian American Studies, Introduction
WS 106: Introduction to Women’s Studies
WS 303: Anticolonial Women’s Movements