Christine Bacareza Balance

Associate Professor

Department and Program Affiliations:

Performing & Media Arts

Asian-American Studies Program

Academic focus:

Performance studies, popular music/media studies, transnational Asian American studies, Filipino/Filipino American studies, sound studies, queer/feminist theory

Current research project: 

My current book project, “Making Sense of Martial Law,” approaches culture and performance as part of the ongoing production of political affects. It focuses on the history of martial law in the Philippines—the 21-year-long dictatorial rule of former President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda (1965-1986) as well as a time when U.S.- and Philippines-based activists and artists worked against this state of exception. Through a sensory history of martial law, “Making Sense” analyzes how the Marcoses employed the sensorial and sensational as part of their New Society program and how U.S.- and Philippines-based performances, events, and cultural objects critiqued the “Marcosian imaginary,” modeling new forms of cultural memory. I am also finishing up work on an artistic and scholarly collection, co-edited with Lucy San Pablo Burns (Asian American Studies, UCLA), entitled: “California Dreaming: Movement & Place in the Asian American Imaginary” (University of Hawai’i Press, forthcoming). And I look forward to starting research on the intersections between Asian American studies and sound studies for a future special journal issue.

Previous positions: 

  • Associate Professor, Asian American Studies, University of California Irvine, 2008-2015
  • Fellow, Society for the Humanities, Cornell University, 2014-2015
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Ford Foundation Fellowship Program, 2012-2013
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, 2007-2009

Academic background: 

  • Ph.D., Performance studies, New York University, 2007
  • M.A., Performance studies, New York University, 2000
  • B.A., Ethnic studies, University of California Berkeley, 1999

Last book read:

“Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam & the Memory of War” by Viet Nguyen and “Creative Quest” by Questlove

In your own time/when not working:

Running half-marathons, hiking in nature, Vinyasa yoga, drinking strong coffee and French wines, watching documentaries and foreign films, checking out live music shows, traveling, going to Stevie Wonder, Fela Kuti, and 1990s hip-hop dance parties

Courses you’re most looking forward to teaching:

Asian Americans & Popular Culture, Race, Performance & Sound Politics, Cultural Afterlives of U.S. Militarism in Asia & the Pacific

What most excites you about Cornell:

The vibrant and welcoming intellectual community, collaborating with esteemed colleagues across fields and disciplines, being in conversation with bright and inspiring students, exploring and engaging the exceptional Filipino studies section of the library’s Southeast Asia collection, bridging campus life with writers, performers, and filmmakers from New York and beyond.