Stories from the Ethnoburbs: Tracing Cherished Foods Through Space and Time
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This thesis celebrates food traditions of immigrant families in the west San Gabriel Valley—my home, a region of Los Angeles County notable for its majority Latinx and Asian American population. In 1997, Wei Li first coined the term “ethnoburb” to articulate this voluntary shift in multi-ethnic concentration from downtown enclaves to the suburbs of the west SGV, a phenomenon that challenged intimately-bound associations of suburbia and whiteness. In this thesis, my family’s story serves as a point of departure; our backyard cultivation of pomelo (Chinese grapefruit), its budwood brought from China, holds significance in our collective memory. Additional stories of this kind highlight the shaping of land, both physically and symbolically, through foods of personal and cultural value. It is an in-depth study of place through narratives of resistance, redefinition, and resilience.
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