Faces of Tradition

Levi S. Gibbs, ed. 2020. Faces of Tradition in Chinese Performing Arts. Series: Encounters: Explorations in Folklore and Ethnomusicology. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN: 978-0-253-04583-6
Available in Paperback and E-Book

Faces of Tradition in Chinese Performing Arts examines the key role of the individual in the development of traditional Chinese performing arts such as music and dance. These artists and their artistic works—the “faces of tradition”—come to represent and reconfigure broader fields of cultural production in China today. The contributors to this volume explore the ways in which performances and recordings, including singing competitions, textual anthologies, ethnographic videos, and CD albums, serve as discursive spaces where individuals engage with and redefine larger traditions and themselves. By focusing on the performance, scholarship, collection, and teaching of instrumental music, folksong, and classical dance from a variety of disciplines–these case studies highlight the importance of the individual in determining how traditions have been and are represented, maintained, and cultivated.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Faces of Tradition in Chinese Performing Arts / Levi S. Gibbs

  1. Grasping Intangible Heritage and Reimagining Inner Mongolia: Folk-Artist Albums and a New Logic for Musical Representation in China / Charlotte D’Evelyn

  2. Chinese Singing Contests as Site of Negotiation Among Individuals and Traditions / Levi S. Gibbs

  3. Dynamic Inheritance: Representative Works and the Authoring of Tradition in Chinese Dance / Emily E. Wilcox

  4. Collecting Flowers, Defining a Genre: Zhang Yaxiong and the Anthology of Hua’er Folksongs / Sue Tuohy

  5. From Field Recordings to Ethnographically Informed CDs: Curating the Sounds of Yunnan for a Niche Foreign Market / Helen Rees

Glossary of Chinese Terms and Phrases


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