RMMLA Asian Drama and Performance–cfp

CFP: Asian Drama and Performance
Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association 77th Annual Convention
Conference Date: October 10-12, 2024
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

From traditional theatrical practices to contemporary pop culture, the notion of “performance” has continuously played a pivotal role. It not only influences how we interpret literary and visual texts, but also reflects the evolution of society. With “performance” as the focal point, we aim to bring together scholars who can offer insightful perspectives on the topics related to Asian drama, dance and performance. We welcome studies on Asian dramatic texts and performance traditions across various time periods and regions. Papers that examine the performance in a range of humanities disciplines such as cultural studies, film and media studies, gender studies, religion, and anthropology are also encouraged.

We welcome topics including but not limited to:

  • Asian Dance and Drama in Digital Media
  • Decolonizing Asian drama and performance
  • Race and ethnicity in Asian drama and performance
  • Engendering or queering Asian drama and performance
  • (Post-)Human Body and mobility in Asian drama and performance
  • Nationality and diaspora in Asian drama and performance
  • Scripts, Staging, and Props in Theatrical Performances
  • Spatiality and Temporality of Asian Drama, Dance, and Performance
  • Age, aging, and youth in Asian drama and performance

Prospective participants should submit an abstract of approximately 250 words along with a short (2-3 sentence) biography through this google form by March 15, 2024. The language of the session is English.

Please direct any inquiries to: Miao Dou, Melody Yunzi Li, and Pai Wang.

Miao Dou (doumiaokyle@gmail.com)
Melody Yunzi Li (mli40@Central.UH.EDU)
Pai Wang (paiwang@caltech.edu)

Arise, Africa! Roar, China! review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Emily Wilcox’s review of Arise, Africa! Roar China!: Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century, by Gao Yunxiang. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/wilcox-2/. My thanks to our literary studies book review editor, Nicholas Kaldis, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

Arise, Africa! Roar, China!: Black and
Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century

By Gao Yunxiang

Reviewed by Emily Wilcox

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright February, 2023)

Yunxiang Gao, Arise, Africa! Roar, China!: Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century Chapel Hill, N.C.: The University of North Carolina Press, 2021. xi + 392 pp. ISBN 978-1-4696-6460-6 (cloth).

Gao Yunxiang’s new monograph Arise, Africa! Roar, China! Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century explores Sino-African American relations during the mid-twentieth century through five interconnected case studies: W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Liu Liangmo 劉良模, Sylvia Si-lan Chen Leyda 陳茜[錫,西]蘭, and Langston Hughes. Drawing extensively on archival sources in the United States, published sources in Chinese, English, and Russian, and writings by these individuals, their family members, and their biographers, Gao documents how Chinese and African Americans interacted and collaborated with one other in diverse ways between the 1930s and the 1970s. Moving beyond a state-to-state understanding of international engagement, Gao examines how personal relationships and opportunities for travel and translation that developed in this period enabled forms of intellectual and artistic work and political activism, producing new mutual understandings and forms of transnational belonging across the Pacific.

Departing somewhat from recent scholarship that emphasizes the limitations of Afro-Asian discourse and its imagined intimacies, as well as work that focuses on one side of the China-African American interactions during this period, Gao seeks to document historical instances of connection and engagement through an approach that places equal emphasis on both Chinese and US source materials. As Gao asserts in the final paragraph of her book: Continue reading

Performing Solidarities lecture

PUBLIC LECTURE: “Performing Solidarities: ‘Third World’ Alliance as Choreographic Practice in Mao-Era China”
Professor Emily Wilcox (College of William & Mary)
5:00-6:30pm, Tuesday, October 11, 2022
Room 604, UBC Asian Centre (1871 West Mall, Vancouver, BC)

This free event is co-sponsored by the Department of Asian Studies and the Department of Theatre & Film of the University of British Columbia.

Event details and registration:


Lecture description:

The concept of ‘Third World’ unity emerged in the mid-twentieth century as a way of forging political alliances and solidarities among Asian, African, and Latin American people, by focusing on shared experiences of colonial history, racism, and decolonial struggle and imagining possibilities for global interaction beyond the bipolar Cold War framework.

In this talk, Wilcox explores uses of performance, especially dance, to build and enact transnational alliances across differences. Through examples such as a 1964 Chinese dance drama about the US Civil Rights Movement and the Asia-Africa-Latin America programs of China’s Oriental Song and Dance Ensemble (est. 1962), Wilcox asks what it meant to choreograph alliances with transnational communities in Mao-era China. Continue reading

Highlights from 2022 Spring Festival Gala

Source: SupChina (2/2/22)
Five highlights from the 2022 Spring Festival Gala: From standup comedy to blessings from outer space
The annual television extravaganza that is China Central Television’s Spring Festival Gala is much derided — some call it a “craptacular.” But it is one of the most-watched TV shows on the planet. This year it featured American style standup comedy for the first time and a live feed from astronauts aboard China’s space station.
By Jiayun Feng

Despite China’s stringent zero-COVID strategy, Omicron and Delta outbreaks have been identified in multiple provinces in the past few months. Efforts have been heightened to minimize the risk of cross-infections at the Beijing Winter Olympics, which will kick off this Friday.

But even amid all the uncertainties surrounding China’s COVID situation, there’s one constant in Chinese people’s cultural life that happens every year no matter what, and that’s Spring Festival Gala (春节联欢晚会 chūnjié liánhuān wǎnhuì, or 春晚 chūnwǎn for short) — an annual event broadcast by China Central Television (CCTV) on Lunar New Year’s Eve.

This year’s program, aired on Monday evening local time, was the 40th edition of the gala and the third one to take place since COVID hit the country. Even with a fully masked audience, the show still managed to feel like old times as a star-studded lineup of pop singers, dance troupes, and comedians took to the stage.

You can watch the entire show on CCTV Chunwan’s official YouTube channel, or look out for these highlights: Continue reading

Olympic spectacle and global power games

Source: NYT (2/4/22)
In Beijing, Olympic Spectacle and Global Power Games
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
The opening of the Winter Games gave Xi Jinping and Vladimir V. Putin a chance to cement their partnership against Western censure.
By Chris Buckley and Steven Lee Myers

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on Friday in Beijing.

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on Friday in Beijing. Credit…Gabriela Bhaskar/The New York Times

BEIJING — China’s leader, Xi Jinping, opened an Olympic Games on Friday intended to celebrate his country’s increasingly assured global status standing defiantly with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir V. Putin, in an increasingly ideological contest with the United States and its allies.

While President Biden and other democratic leaders shunned the opening ceremony over China’s human rights abuses, Mr. Xi drew his own bloc of supportive guests. Mr. Putin, another strongman leader bristling against the United States’ demands, appeared with him in a calculated display of solidarity while Moscow’s tensions with Ukraine could tip into war.

The meeting with Mr. Putin, with the opening ceremony, amounted to a choreographed display of China’s shifting place in the world — wanting to win over countries wary of its rising power, but growing impatient, and disdainful, of Western censure.

It also underscored China and Russia’s determination to present a united front against the West, broadly, and the United States in particular — exactly the result that President Richard M. Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry A. Kissinger, were trying to avoid with their opening to China in 1971. Continue reading

Rethinking Socialist Theaters of Reform review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Rosemary Roberts’s review of Rethinking Chinese Socialist Theaters of Reform: Performance Practice and Debate in the Mao Era, edited by Xiaomei Chen, Tarryn Li-min Chun, and Siyuan Liu. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/roberts/. My thanks to MCLC media studies book review editor, Jason McGrath, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

Rethinking Chinese Socialist Theaters of Reform:
Performance Practice and Debate in the Mao Era

Edited by Xiaomei Chen, Tarryn Li-min Chun, Siyuan Liu

Reviewed by Rosemary Roberts

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright January, 2022)

Xiaomei Chen, Tarryn Li-min Chun, and Siyuan Liu, eds., Rethinking Chinese Socialist Theaters of Reform: Performance Practice and Debate in the Mao Era Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2021. 320pp. ISBN: 978-0-472-12851-8 (Hardcover). $80.00

This book brings together research by ten scholars of Chinese theater of the socialist period focusing on theater reform in the years from the late 1940s to early 1970s. The editors have done an excellent job in designing the collection so that the in-depth case studies work together as a series to demonstrate vividly that far from this being a period of ideological unity in which the Party exercised nationwide hegemonic control over the theater world, it was a complex period marked by significant disparities: between the more controllable cities and the out-of-reach countryside; between state funded troupes and those reliant on ticket sales for survival; between political intentions and aesthetic aspirations. Further contributing to the complexity of the situation, theater practitioners personally committed to the socialist cause and who had been prominent in theater reform efforts during the Republican era took up appointments in the Party bureaucracy to help guide the creation of a new socialist culture and found themselves continuously negotiating between artistic integrity and political imperatives in their continuing pursuit of theater reform. Continue reading

Corporeal Politics

NEW PUBLICATION: Corporeal Politics: Dancing East Asia, edited by Katherine Mezur and Emily Wilcox

The new book Corporeal Politics: Dancing East Asia, edited by Katherine Mezur and Emily Wilcox, was published by the University of Michigan Press in September 2020. It is part of the Studies in Dance History book series and is the first book-length academic study of multiple genres of dance across the East Asia region. Contributors come from across the US and East Asia and include leading scholars of East Asian dance and performance studies, history, and literary studies.

Corporeal Politics investigates the development of dance as a deeply meaningful and complex cultural practice across time, placing special focus on the intertwining of East Asia dance and politics and the role of dance as a medium of transcultural interaction and communication across borders. Countering common narratives of dance history that emphasize the US and Europe as centers of origin and innovation, Corporeal Politics demonstrates the expansive creativity of dance artists in East Asia and asserts the region’s importance as a site of critical theorization and reflection on global artistic developments in the performing arts. Corporeal Politics addresses a wide range of performance styles and genres, including dances produced for the concert stage, as well as those presented in popular entertainments, private performance spaces, and street protests.

Link: https://www.press.umich.edu/11521701/corporeal_politics

Continue reading

New Studies in Socialist Performance

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Xiaomei Chen’s “New Studies in Socialist Performance: A Review Essay,” which reviews Staging Revolution: Artistry and Aesthetics in Model Beijing Opera during the Cultural Revolution, by Xing Fan, and Revolutionary Bodies: Chinese Dance and the Socialist Legacy, by Emily Wilcox. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/xiaomei-chen/. My thanks to Jason McGrath, MCLC book review editor for media studies, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

New Studies in Socialist Performance: A Review Essay

Staging Revolution: Artistry and Aesthetics in Model Beijing Opera during the Cultural Revolution, by Xing Fan
Revolutionary Bodies: Chinese Dance and the Socialist Legacy, by Emily Wilcox

Reviewed by Xiaomei Chen
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright June, 2020)

Xing Fan, Staging Revolution: Artistry and Aesthetics in Model Beijing Opera during the Cultural Revolution Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2018. 308 pp. ISBN: 978-988-8455-81-2 (cloth).

Emily Wilcox, Revolutionary Bodies: Chinese Dance and the Socialist Legacy Berkeley: University of California Press, 2018. 322 pp. ISBN: 9780520300576 (cloth).

This review essay examines two outstanding recent books in Chinese performance studies: Xing Fan’s monograph Staging Revolution: Artistry and Aesthetics in Model Peking Opera during the Cultural Revolution (Hong Kong University Press, 2018) and Emily Wilcox’s Revolutionary Bodies: Chinese Dance and the Socialist Legacy (University of California Press, 2019). Both books are substantial and significant contributions to theatre studies, contemporary Chinese literary and cultural studies, and comparative Asian theatre history, with a sharp focus on aesthetic traditions in the context of intellectual and political history.

Xing Fan’s Staging Revolution focuses on the complexities of the “revolutionary modern Peking opera” promoted during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), also widely known as “model theatre.” She is among the very few in English language scholarship to fully delve into the aesthetic features of Peking opera (jingju 京剧) in the modern period, with an emphasis on five major components of jingju arts: playwriting, acting, music, design, and directing. Staging Revolution expands the scope of Barbara Mittler’s remarkable book A Continuous Revolution: Making Sense of Cultural Revolution Culture (Harvard University East Asian Center, 2013) and Rosemary A. Roberts’s excellent study Maoist Model TheatreThe Semiotics of Gender and Sexuality in the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) (Brill, 2010)With a comprehensive study of the artistry of model theatre, Fan’s Staging Revolution has raised to a new level the academic study of the model theatre, and by extension, the cultural legacy of the Cultural Revolution.

The scope of her book, moreover, reaches beyond the period of the Cultural Revolution. Her succinct narrative of jingju history and practice—from the late eighteenth century to the Yan’an period of the 1930s-40s and on to the high Maoist period before the Cultural Revolution—delineates a rich history of the sociological and ideological functions of jingju and its artistic heritage and development, with the latter being the most innovative contribution of Fan’s book. Continue reading

Revolutionary Bodies

Revolutionary Bodies: Chinese Dance and the Socialist Legacy
By Emily Wilcox
University of California Press, 2018

Revolutionary Bodies is the first English-language primary source–based history of concert dance in the People’s Republic of China. Combining over a decade of ethnographic and archival research, Emily Wilcox analyzes major dance works by Chinese choreographers staged over an eighty-year period from 1935 to 2015. Using previously unexamined film footage, photographic documentation, performance programs, and other historical and contemporary sources, Wilcox challenges the commonly accepted view that Soviet-inspired revolutionary ballets are the primary legacy of the socialist era in China’s dance field. The digital edition of this title includes nineteen embedded videos of selected dance works discussed by the author.

At publication date, a free ebook version of this title will be available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program. Visit www.luminosoa.org to learn more.

Centre Stage: modern dance in China

Sharing some dancing delights for our readers!–Alison Friedman <alison@pingpongarts.org>

Source: China Policy (8/3/18)
centre stage: modern dance in China

It’s August, and it’s time for a break. So pack Centre Stage, our annual arts special, in your backpack and lose yourself in the sensuous world of modern dance before returning to the trade war and other worries.

This year, Alison M. Friedman, performing arts impresario and China modern dance expert, takes us backstage to meet a generation of dance pioneers who are moulding the human form into stretches of both the limbs and the imagination. Founder of cross-cultural enterprise Ping Pong Productions, after 15 years immersed in China’s modern dance world Alison is now Artistic Director of Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, one of the largest cultural developments of its kind.

centre stage is our fourth annual culture special, following best dressed on fashion, hip flicks on film, and choice cuts on music.

click to download slideshow (videos linked)

click to download slideshow (videos embedded)

Dance adaptation of Lin Yutang war novel

Source: China Daily (5/26/18)
War novel takes new life as dance production
By Chen Nan

The dance production A Leaf in the Storm will be presented by the Beijing Dance Theater at Beijing’s Tianqiao Performing Arts Center from June 6 to 10.

Based on a war novel of the same title by Lin Yutang, the production marks the first time the story is retold in dance. The novel, which was published by New York publishing firm John Day Book Company in 1941, is about the lives of several characters in Beijing during the Japanese invasion. Continue reading

Asian Theatre and Dance–cfp

CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS: Adaptation, Translation and Acculturation in Asian Theatre and Dance
A Symposium at the Centre for Asian Theatre and Dance, Royal Holloway, University of London, 25 May 2018

Adaptation, and parallel adaptive acts such as translation (Jakobson 2000) and acculturation, are the foundation blocks for intercultural and cross-cultural projects (Chan 2012), but also have agency in developing national multicultural narratives (Leong 2014).  As Chan highlights, ‘adaptations serve as carriers of cultural subjects and formations’ (2014: 412).  Inevitably, acts of intercultural and cross-cultural adaptation are bound to the cultural-political sphere, to post-colonial and neo-colonial histories. Yet, they are as much a product of the personal and the national, as they are the communal and the global. Translation happens not only between texts but also within performance, articulating the commensurability or lack of understanding among actors representing contrasting world views (Lindsay 2007). Continue reading

Dancing East Asia conference at U Michigan

Dancing East Asia: Critical Choreographies and their Corporeal Politics
April 7-8 | Hatcher Library Gallery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

This conference examines the moving body as a medium of artistic experimentation, cultural exchange, and political activism in East Asia. Invited scholars from Asia, Europe, and North America will present new research on dance in the East Asian region, including China, Japan, North and South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Covering late imperial times to the present, the conference will offer a landmark event for the emerging field of East Asian dance studies.

Dancing East Asia has been designated the 2017 “Special Topics Conference” by the Society for Dance History Scholars, the dance studies organization of ACLS.

This conference is one part of an ongoing research project focused on Dance Studies and Global East Asia and an edited volume directed and authored by Emily Wilcox and Katherine Mezur.

Visit the conference website. Continue reading

Dance Exhibition at U of Michigan

The University of Michigan Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies and the University Library are pleased to announce a new exhibition, Chinese Dance: National Movements in a Revolutionary Age, 1945-1965, to be held March 1-May 15, 2017 at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Featuring materials from the University of Michigan Library’s Asia Library, home of North America’s largest collection of research materials on Chinese dance, the exhibition introduces modern Chinese dance history during the period from 1945 to 1965 through digitized photographs, performance programs, archival materials, books, and videos.

The exhibition is co-curated by Emily Wilcox (U-M Department of Asian Languages and Cultures) and Liangyu Fu (U-M Asia Library) and co-sponsored by the U-M Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies and the University Library. Continue reading

Core socialist values in song and dance

Source: Sinosphere, NYT (9/1/16)
China’s ‘Core Socialist Values,’ the Song-and-Dance Version

BEIJING — The 12 “core socialist values” are memorized by schoolchildren, featured in college entrance exams, printed on stamps and lanterns, and splashed on walls across China. Now they have made their way into 20 song-and-dance routines that the authorities in Hunan Province plan to promote to the country’s millions of “square dancers,” the mostly middle-aged and older women who gather in public squares to perform in unison. Continue reading