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Troubling genre, ethnicity and geopolitics in Taiwanese American independent rock music

  • Wendy F. Hsu (a1)

This paper examines the performances of Taiwanese American Jack Hsu and his New Jersey-based progressive erhu-rock band The Hsu-nami, in transnational contexts fraught by ethnonationalism and race. Through an ethnographic approach, this paper highlights the band's depoliticising practice to deflect the geopolitics across the Taiwan Strait. It also discusses how Hsu adapts the musical and gender ideologies in rock music culture to diffuse racial ideologies surrounding his ethnicity and instrument. Finally, an analysis of the band's deployment of cultural diplomacy discusses pragmatic multiculturalism, a mode that reflects the tension between rock music's ostensibly counter-cultural front and its commercial foundation.

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S. Feld 2000. ‘A sweet lullaby for world music’, Public Culture, 12/1, pp. 145–71

E.Y. Jung 2010. ‘Playing the race and sexuality cards in the transnational pop game: Korean music videos for the US market’, Journal of Popular Music Studies, 22/2, pp. 219–36

K. Keightley 2001. ‘Reconsidering rock’, in The Cambridge Companion of Pop and Rock, ed. S. Frith , W. Straw and J. Street (New York, Cambridge University Press), pp. 109–2

M. Mahon 2004. Right to Rock: The Black Rock Coalition and the Cultural Politics of Race (Durham, Duke University Press)

D. Palumbo-Liu 2002. ‘Multiculturalism now: civilization, national identity, and difference before and after September 11th’, Boundary 2, 29/2, pp. 109–27

J. Stock 1992. ‘Contemporary recital solos for the Chinese two-stringed fiddle erhu’, British Journal of Ethnomusicology, 1, pp. 5588

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Popular Music
  • ISSN: 0261-1430
  • EISSN: 1474-0095
  • URL: /core/journals/popular-music
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