Oral history

Zhuanlou 1992 caifang

With oral history such a major aspect of our fieldwork, this recent conference on its role in Chinese music studies, organized by the bright scholar Qi Kun, looks interesting:


As I often observe, the experiences of peasants may be a more fruitful source of information than musty tomes in a library. From my recent article on Xiongxian:

Such local temples, and the amateur associations that perpetuated their traditions, would be unknowable without exploring the area on the ground, village by village. The project is of great significance for our understanding of local history—not just for the late imperial period, but from the Republican era through Maoism and the reforms, right down to today.

Of course, “music” being part of changing local society, this must also be a political issue, as shown by famine studies in China (e.g. Wu Wenguang’s Memory Project) and elsewhere. Here Chinese music scholars still tend to lag behind their colleagues in anthropology.

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