China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
This panel examines the relationship between sound and space in modern China. Traveling across physical, geographical, as well as mediated spaces, sound came to shape new configurations of space and gave rise to new structures of feeling in Republican and Socialist China and postwar Taiwan. Sound production and circulation both built and blurred boundaries between the body, class, region, and nation in the realm of mass mobilization, political propaganda, the entertainment industry, and everyday affective life. Employing sound studies and media archeology approaches, this panel seeks to understand how mediated soundscapes carved out physical and affective spaces for individuals as well as for collective solidarity.
Ling Kang’s analysis of the 1930s Leftist poetry identifies the manipulation of sonic devices in these poems as a foundation of bodily solidarity in public. Yunwen Gao focuses on dialect comedy films in the 1950s and 1960s that mediated the relationship between the local and the national. Yu Wang’s paper interrogates the dynamic interaction between radio workers and iron factory workers during the Great Leap Forward. Moving across the straits, Andrew Jones traces the dissemination of Anglo-American popular music in postwar Taiwan in the form of pirate records, which gave rise to the rediscovery of local folk music in service of an anti-colonial agenda. Examining poetry, film, radio broadcasting, and music records, this panel urges us to reconsider how the production and circulation of sound regulate our bodies and mind in sensing and feeling the local, the national, and the transnational.