The NIU School of Music and World Music Club are two of the sponsors of an NIU Asian American Lecture Series presentation on “Defining Tunes of the Chinese Diaspora” by Dr. Nancy Yunhwa Rao, Professor of Music, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Rao’s lecture will be presented live at NIU’s Asian American Resource Center and via Zoom at 5 p.m., Tuesday, January 24.

The defining tunes of the Chinese diaspora in the nineteenth century and the early twentieth were those of the Cantonese opera. This history has been invisible due to the scarcity of Chinese materials in archives. Its sonic imageries were also imprisoned by the mounting derision in historical English newspapers and travelogues. What were the patterns of networks and migrations that made Chinese opera a part of North American cultures?

How did border crossing, listening practices and visual emblems constitute their sounding identity?

This talk offers readings against the grain to consider the ways that archives structure and frame not only our understanding of the past but how we enter into the present and future.

The lecture is sponsored by the NIU Asian American Certificate Program, NIU Asian American Resource Center, Office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, NIU School of Music and NIU World Music Club.