Cantonese Opera and the Chinese Diaspora in England
Tong Soon Lee presents a lecture in the series New Approaches to Chinese Studies
Friday, December 02, 2005
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
The elaborate costumes and facial makeup of characters in Chinese traditional theater are probably the most visible symbols of the Chinese community in Great Britain. Likewise, the predominance of Cantonese opera groups in Britain today is indicative of the high proportion of post-World War II Cantonese-speaking community from Britain’s former colony, Hong Kong. The Chinese community in Britain has received relatively less attention in the academic and political realms than its African-Caribbean, South Asian, and Muslim counterparts. Yet, Britain has one of the largest and oldest Chinese immigrant populations in Western Europe: it dates back to the 1780s, when early immigrants formed communities in port cities such as Liverpool and the dockland areas in East London. This presentation is part of Professor Lee's preliminary work with Cantonese opera groups in England as a way of understanding their immigrant experiences and how their musical practices in the diaspora is linked to changing attitudes toward multiculturalism in Britain since the mid to late twentieth century.
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Tong Soon Lee currently teaches ethnomusicology at Emory University and previously taught at the University of Durham in Great Britain. His research focuses on Southeast and East Asian music, and he has done work on the Muslim and Chinese communities in Singapore. His book on Chinese street opera and nationalism in Singapore is forthcoming from the University of Illinois Press. He is currently working on two projects: Chinese music and diaspora in England and the Chinese-Malay cultural heritage of Peranakan communities in Singapore and Malaysia.
Professor Lee's paper, "Cantonese Opera and the Chinese Disapora in England," is available online, in pdf format. Please click here.
The New Approaches to Chinese Studies Series is made possible by a generous gift from the Sammy Yukuan Lee Foundation
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Tel: 310 825-8683
Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies