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There isn’t one unified Asian American vision of California, argues Christine Bacareza Balance, associate professor of Performing and Media Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences, in “California Dreaming: Movement and Place in the Asian American Imaginary,” a new multi-genre collection she co-edited.

The 27 pieces in “California Dreaming” – including essays, short stories, script excerpts, visual art and poems, collected and edited over the past 10 years – present California as an “archipelago” of different places and identities, said Balance, who’s also director of Cornell’s Asian American Studies program.

For Filipina American historian Dawn Mabalon, Asian American culture in the Golden State is best expressed through an essay about her family’s recipe for the pastry binangkal.

Balance said they intend for the collection to broaden how the field of Asian American studies is defined and imagined.

“People often think of Asian American studies as California-centric,” Balance said, adding that this notion emphasizes a certain historical period – the 1960s and 1970s – and fails to account for newer communities.

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