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Sound, Noise and the Everyday: Soundscapes in China

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.


Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

  • Prof. Andrew F. Jones (University of California, Berkeley): “Fugitive Sounds: Taiwanese Musical Cinema of the 1960s.”
  • Prof. Xiao Mei (Shanghai Conservatory of Music): “Memory of ‘The House with 72 Tenants’: The Soundscapes of Daily Life in Shanghai” 


For further information please contact:

Aarhus University

Andreas Steen, Associate Professor, email: ostas@hum.au.dk

Tel. +45-87162375.



Frank Kouwenhoven, email: chime@wxs.nl

Tel. +31-71-5133123 or 5133794, Mob. 06-4029.3426