Fellows & Grantees

Ying Diao

SSRC Arts Research with Communities of Color (ARCC) Fellowship 2022


Ying Diao is an ethnomusicologist and cultural anthropologist with research expertise in relationships between cultural production, ethnicity, and politics, and in the anthropology of religion, voice, and mediation. Her work has focused on the musical dynamics of cross-border ethnoreligious development and resilience among upland communities in southwest China and mainland Southeast Asia. Supported by the SEM Deborah Wong Research & Publication Award and AAS Publication Support Grant, her book project, Muted, Mediated, and Mobilized: Faith by Aurality on the China-Myanmar Border, examines how transnational sound production, circulation, and consumption become integral to the Lisu perception and striving after Christian faith amidst constraints and uncertainties. She earned her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Maryland, College Park (2016). She was a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany, from 2017-2019, and a lecturer at the University of Minnesota in Spring 2022.

Ragamala Dance Company
Diao collaborates with Ragamala Dance Company in Minneapolis, a 30-year-old presenter of original stage works in the South Indian dance style of Bharatanatyam. Diao explores how the company’s artistic directors have developed bold creative visions, with the aims of infusing their culturally rooted art form into the contemporary American dance scene and producing performance for all audiences by affinity. By tackling issues like the challenges of cross-cultural collaboration, navigating the global performing arts industry, and the pivotal role of entrepreneurship in this process, Diao seeks to offer a more nuanced understanding of artists of color practicing at the periphery of mainstream recognition.