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Call for papers: 'Chinese Music as cross-culture' 


21st CHIME meeting, Lisbon, Portugal, 9-13 May 2018 

Macau Scientific & Cultural Centre & University of Lisbon
























From 9 to 13 May 2018, the 21st International meeting of CHIME, a worldwide platform of scholars and aficionados of Chinese music, will be hosted by the Macau Scientific and Cultural Centre (CCCM) in Lisbon, in Portugal. This lively event, with panels, films, paper sessions, concerts, workshops and exhibitions, is organized in close cooperation with the Ethnomusicology Institute of the New University of Lisbon and the Confucius Institute of the University of Lisbon. 


We stepped up our exchanges with colleagues in Lisbon during several small-scale seminars in the past few years... We are now ready for a major international gathering, and for a passionate confluence of musical spirits and talents in the wonderful ambiance of thriving, coastal Lisbon. The event will take place, once again, under the patronage of Fundação Jorge Álvares. 


We picked a suitably broad and challenging overall theme for the occasion: Chinese music as cross-culture. We invite students, scholars and artists in the realm of Chinese music to submit proposals for individual papers or panels, or posters about this theme (for more on this theme, see further down below). 


For this event, we explicitly promote and support poster presentations, and will allot ample space and time to one or more poster sessions – which will not be held in parallel with other events. The posters will take pride of place in our programme. This not only because we expect an unusually big number of participants, whom we wish to accommodate as much as possible, but also because we think posters are an ideal format for presenting first-rate research: posters allow presenters to speak about their topic for much longer than in any paper format, and there is also more time for questions and debate. We hope to turn the floors of CCCM into a lively 'market' space, where the crowd can move around freely and individually, and presenters will introduce their research on posters (with photos, graphs, music notations etc), and with the help of music and film samples on laptops. 


Naturally, there will also be ample room for conventional papers, and for concerts and demonstrations by a truly fine range of prominent musicians and ensembles from rural and urban China. Whether you are in for very traditional Chinese sounds, or for a bout of Portuguese fado in Chinese guise, whether you like small-scale musicking or prefer 'big bands' and surprises, you will find something of interest in our upcoming Lisbon meeting. 


The main theme: Chinese music as cross-culture 

In his pivotal book on Culture (1999), the anthropologist Adam Kuper argues that all culture is cross-culture: separating out any cultural sphere and treating it entirely in its own terms is a poor strategy, claims Kuper, because it tends to draw attention away from what human beings have in common, instead of encouraging us to communicate across national, regional, ethnic and religious boundaries, and to venture between them. 


So how can we relate this to Chinese music? Evidently, a great deal of Chinese urban music-making today shows major influences from Western (especially pop and classical) music, and the same could be said of many rural genres of Chinese music. But there is not just 'the West', and there is not just one-way traffic in music. Throughout the centuries China has maintained extensive cultural relationships with other parts of Asia. And the country itself is a vast and varied territory, in ethnic, religious, geographical and cultural terms. Numerous factors have brought about – and are still shaping –local, regional and supposedly 'national' styles and musical alliances. It needs a keen observing eye to discern the complexities of any performing tradition, also on micro-levels. 


In the upcoming CHIME meeting in Lisbon, we wish to explore Chinese music from this perspective, across the entire spectrum of musical genres, from ancient court music and other genres from the remote past to present-day Chinese pop, rock and jazz. The challenge is to discern how different influences have shaped specific genres – not just in urban contexts, but also within local rural and supposedly ethnically or culturally 'homegeneic' traditions. How did local musical artists exert mutual influence? How did local ‘schools’ or ‘styles’ of music develop in mutual interaction? Our basic point of departure is that all Chinese music (like all other music) is 'cross-culture'. 


One specific focus will be musical instruments, bearing in mind that so many musical instruments now viewed as 'Chinese' were originally imported from abroad, or did eventually travel elsewhere – to Asia, to the West, including to the shores of Portugal and beyond. 


During the Lisbon CHIME meeting, the Macau Cultural and Scientific Centre will proudly present an exhibition of Chinese and Asian musical instruments from its own collection as well as from other collections present in Portugal. 


Another subtheme explored in this conference will be the musico-cultural relations between Portugal and wider Asia, more specifically with China. Last but not least, we remain, as in every year's meeting, a platform for presentations about on-going research in Chinese music


Submission of abstracts 

The Programme Committee for the Lisbon Meeting consists of Enio de Souza (CCCM), Frank Kouwenhoven (CHIME), François Picard (Université Paris-Sorbonne), Helen Rees (UCLA) and Shao Ling (Universidade de Aveiro). Abstracts of around 300 words are invited for individual posters or for twenty-minute presentations on the conference theme. (Please indicate specifically if you are not willing to offer your presentation as a poster, and can only present it as a spoken 20-minute lecture). 


Proposers may also submit panel sessions of a maximum of 120 minutes (including discussion). In this case, an abstract of around 300 words should detail the focus of the panel as a whole, with abstracts of 100-200 words for each contribution. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 31 October, 2017. Notification of acceptance or rejection will take place by 31 January, 2018. An early acceptance policy will be implemented for those in need of conference confirmation for grant or visa applications. 


All abstracts should be forwarded to the Programme Committee of the 21st Chime meeting, c/o Frank Kouwenhoven, Email:


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