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California Dreamin’

The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West presents panel April 15.

California Dreamin’

What is this geographical state — and state of mind — called California? There are as many answers as there are Californians.

In a panel discussion titled “What Does California Mean?” some of the state’s most distinguished thinkers on the subject will explore the remarkable history and multiple meanings of the complex Golden State.

The Visions and Voices event, free and open to the public, takes place Tuesday, April 15, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Andrus Gerontology Center’s Leonard Davis Auditorium. Refreshments will be provided.

William Deverell, director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, will moderate the discussion. Deverell and the institute organized the event.

Panelists include Ruth Wilson Gilmore, one of the nation’s leading anti-prison activists. Gilmore, associate professor of geography, is chair of American studies and ethnicity at USC College.

Kevin Starr, the state’s librarian emeritus and University Professor at USC, will also speak. Starr, professor of history in the College, is considered the nation’s leading expert on California history and has written nine books on the subject.

Other panelists include:

Janet Fireman, an authority on the Spanish New World of the 16th and 17th centuries, is emeritus chief curator of the history collections at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and editor of the scholarly journal California History.

D.J. Waldie, public information officer of Lakewood, Calif., is author of Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir. Earning the California Book Award for nonfiction, the memoir chronicles life in blue-collar 1950s Lakewood.

James Quay, executive director of the California Council for the Humanities for two decades, is working on a project that includes interviews with several hundred Californians.