Department of Music

the university of hong kong


Constructing China's Nationhood
Music and Transmission in East Asia

23-25 April 2010
MG07 Main Building
The University of Hong Kong


Department of Music, School of Humanities, The University of Hong Kong


Modern scholarship has argued that there is no such thing as a Chinese essence or a fixed Han ethnic identity. To say that Chinese identity is a construct, however, is not to say that it is not real; rather, its reality is defined within its socio-cultural moment. Against such a background, this symposium aims at locating the transmission of Chinese music within the larger framework of the global debate on identity formation, from both historical and contemporary perspectives. What role has music played in building China's nationhood? And how has Chinese music been received as the music of the Other by its neighbouring cultures? Potential reference points might include, but are by no means limited to, Hobsbawm's concept of the invention of tradition and Greenblatt's work on identity formation in pre-modern societies.


Invited speakers include Robert Bagley (Princeton University), Joseph Lam (University of Michigan), Alan Thrasher (University of British Columbia), and Richard Widdess (SOAS, University of London).


A historically-informed performance of the 12th-century Chinese poet-musician Jiang Kui's music will be featured on 24 April 2010.


Dr. Yang Yuanzheng
Department of Music  
The University of Hong Kong  
Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong