Yellow Music: Media Culture and Colonial Modernity in the Chinese Jazz Age by Andrew F. Jones, 9780822326854

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    • Condition: New
    • ISBN: 9780822326854
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    Yellow Music is the first history of the emergence of Chinese popular music and the larger urban media culture with which it was closely associated in early twentieth-century China. Centring his study around an account of the affinities between the genre derisively referred to by critics of the time as "yellow" or "pornographic" music - a "decadent" fusion of American jazz, Hollywood film music, and Chinese folk forms - and the anti-colonial mass music that challenged yellow music's commercial and ideological dominance, Andrew F. Jones radically revises previous understandings of race, politics, popular culture, and technology in the making of modern Chinese culture. The personal and professional histories of three musicians in particular are the focus of Jones' discussions of shifting gender roles, class inequality, the politics of national salvation, and emerging media technologies: the American jazz musician Buck Clayton; Li Jinhui, the creator of "yellow music;" and leftist Nie Er, a former student of Li's whose musical idiom grew out of virulent opposition to this sinified jazz. In contemplating the emergence of global media cultures in the postcolonial world, Jones aims to undermine the parochialism of media studies in the West. He teaches us to hear not only the American influence in Chinese popular music but also the Chinese influence on American music and, in so doing, illuminates the ways in which both cultures were implicated in the unfolding of colonial modernity in the twentieth century. Students and scholars of modern China, twentieth-century history, media studies, and jazz history will be informed and engaged by Yellow Music.

    Publisher reviews

    "Yellow Music is a fantastic, one-of-a-kind read: a beautifully written, theoretically rich, and empirically grounded story about the relationship between American jazz music and the politics of colonialism and modernity in China during the interwar years. Andrew F. Jones puts the question of music at the center of debates about the role of the popular in the making of modern China."- Ralph Litzinger, author of Other Chinas: The Yao and the Politics of National Belonging "Yellow Music pushes common sense presumptions forward by complicating theory with solid empirical study. Jones weaves rich information and intriguing conclusions throughout this historically grounded book."- Miram Silverberg, author of Changing Song: The Marxist Manifestos of Nakano Shigeharu "Jones illuminates Chinese cultural and political history from an unknown angle-that of popular music and an emergent transnational mass culture. In doing so, he not only enriches our understanding of this history but also makes an original contribution."- Prasenjit Duara, author of Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China "Andrew F. Jones's essential and exciting study follows the importation of Western technology and music into urban China, the creation of indigenous popular forms and the Chinese government's attempt to regulate the 'types' of sounds circulating at this critical juncture in the nation's history ... it is truly refreshing to read a history of individuals and record players that reveals so much about the political climate and local culture of China."--The Wire, January 2002



    About the author

    Andrew F. Jones is Assistant Professor of Chinese in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of "Like a Knife: Ideology and Genre in Contemporary Chinese Popular Music."




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