Ruling the Stage

I would like to draw your attention to my new book Ruling the Stage: Social and Cultural History of Opera in Sichuan from the Qing to the People’s Republic of China (Brill, 2022).

In it, through an innovative interdisciplinary reading and field research, I analyse the history of the development of opera in Sichuan, arguing that opera serves as a microcosm of the profound transformation of modern Chinese culture between the 18th century and 1950s. I investigate the complex path of opera over this course of history: exiting the temple festivals, becoming a public obsession on commercial stages, and finally being harnessed to partisan propaganda work. The book analyzes the process of cross-regional integration of Chinese culture and the emergence of the national opera genre. Moreover, opera is shown as an example of the culture wars that raged inside China’s popular culture.

For more details please see the book’s webpage:

Igor Chabrowski <>

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