Current Institutional Affiliation
Department Chair and Professor, Ethnomusicology, Lehigh University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1997
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Musicology, University of Pittsburgh
Performing Identity: Chinese Street Opera in Singapore

I intend to examine how the Chaozhou (Teochew) and Fujian (Hokkien) ethnic groups in Singapore maintain their uniqueness in relation to one another, and to the larger culture of Chinese Singaporean, through Chinese opera performance. Recognizing the importance of music performance as an expressive and sometimes, contested form of social identity, I want to show that music performance represents, constructs, negotiates and contests social identity through its structured enactments of textual, intertextual and contextual elements. In each of its stylistic forms, Chinese opera, or xiqu, has come to be iconic for ethnic Chinese groups. Focusing on street performances of xiqu, known as wayang in Singapore, I will examine the role of Chinese opera performance in producing and negotiating ethnic identity. Drawing on theoretical and methodological approaches from ethnomusicology, cultural anthropology, performance studies, cultural and ethnic studies among others, my project explores issues of ethnic identity and group interaction in terms of music performance.