Sound, Noise and the Everyday. Soundscapes in Contemporary China

Sound, Noise and the Everyday. Soundscapes in Contemporary China

Aarhus University; CHIME (European Foundation for Chinese Music Research)
Vom - Bis
21.08.2014 - 24.08.2014
Andreas Steen

China is filled with sounds; indeed, some people would say that it is a noisy place. Some sounds immediately come to mind, for example those of music, radio and TV broadcasts, along with blaring loudspeakers, public announcements and street conversations, or speech/language and communication more generally. Some types or notions of sound may be difficult to grasp or to categorize, for example the sound of a city, sounds of progress, sounds of revolution or sounds of change.

Sounds may be deliberately produced (and manipulated), or may be brought forth unintentionally, and they can be direct and physical or indirect and abstract (or both at the same time). To all events, sounds appear everywhere, with a variety of different intentions and meanings; the same can be said for noise and silence.
Aarhus University and CHIME invite scholars from all disciplines to explore 'sounds & noise' in China. This conference (featuring for CHIME as its 18th International Meeting) does not focus on any particular historical period or research methodology, but seeks for the first time to bring scholars together who share an interest in aspects related to sound.

Can we identify a specific Chinese sound? If so, where are the roots to be found, and how did this sound achieve its current form? Sound production, associations and entanglements, meanings and (listening) effects as well as issues of promotion, manipulation and elimination will be discussed in relation to Chinese history, culture, society and politics.

The broader aim of this conference is to establish 'sound' as an analytical category that provides us with new perspectives on and a new understanding of China.

The publication of a conference volume is planned.

Possible topics include:
Sound Production, Sound Control
Sound and the State
Sound and Music
Eliminating Noise, Producing Sound
Defining Urban Soundscapes
Defining Rural Soundscapes
Chinese Sounds, Foreign Sounds
Sounds in Chinese History (or Society)
Sound and the Everyday

Abstracts of around 300 words are invited for twenty-minute presentations on the conference theme. 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. We will also support a number of poster sessions in the course of the conference, enabling work in progress to be shared using video/image as well as other media. A brief description of the material and technical requirements should be submitted for this.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is February 16, 2014. An early acceptance policy will be implemented for those in need of conference confirmation for grant or visa applications. Papers and (especially) panels addressing the theme of the conference (while referring to sufficiently specific research) are explicitly encouraged. All abstracts should be forwarded to: []
A conference web-page with further information will be organized in Fall 2013.

For further information please contact:
Aarhus University
Andreas Steen, Associate Professor, email:
Tel. +45-87162375.

Frank Kouwenhoven, email:
Tel. +31-71-5133123 or 5133794, Mob. 06-4029.3426



Andreas Steen

Institute for Culture and Society
Aarhus University, Bldg. 1465, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 7, DK-8000 Aarhus C

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