Call for Papers: China Sounds Abroad – Migration, Mobility, and Modernity

Aarhus University, DK
May 6-8th 2021

Inspired by the aural turn in the humanities and China’s recent international propaganda endeavours, this international conference aims at establishing a new and innovative research agenda in the field of China Studies: a systematic investigation of the sonic dimension of China’s modern history and rising global presence.

Held at Aarhus University, the conference will be organized by Assoc. Prof. Andreas Steen in cooperation with Prof. Frederick Lau (Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Prof. Andrew F. Jones (Univ. of California, Berkeley). Our aim is to thoroughly investigate theory and methodology as well as the content and sources of this new approach in China Studies.

It is a goal of this conference to broadly address and discuss questions referring to China Sounds Abroad, even if they go beyond the content of individual presentations. Furthermore, already existing research shall be systematically re-evaluated and incorporated into the project. Therefore, basic and fundamental questions to be asked, for example, are

– When did Chinese sounds began to travel abroad?
– Why and where did (or: do) they travel?
– How were Chinese sounds received in culturally and politically different geographical regions, and how was this sonic knowledge contextualized?
– What impact did sound have on the Western/foreign imagination and perception of China?
– How do we approach, define (and periodize) China’s sounds abroad since the late 19th century?

The conference’s aim is to bring scholars and academics together to discuss and investigate the agency and meaning of Chinese sound in a global context. The conference will be on-site and on-line and is open to all academic disciplines. The focus is on China Sound travels since around 1850 until today, and we invite papers to interpret sound in its broadest sense, including music and voice, silence and noise, specific and abstract, recorded and ephemeral, incidental and motivated.

Please, send your abstract (250 words) and a short bio. by Sunday, August 23, to Andreas Steen, AU (

Download this announcement as PDF: 2021 Conference Call-1