Diasporas and Interculturalism in Asian Performing Arts: Translating Traditions

Diasporas and Interculturalism in Asian Performing Arts: Translating Traditions

Diasporas and Interculturalism in Asian Performing Arts: Translating Traditions

Diasporas and Interculturalism in Asian Performing Arts: Translating Traditions

Synopsis

In an age of globalization, performance is increasingly drawn from intercultural creativity and located in multicultural settings. This volume is the first to focus on the performing arts of Asian diasporas in the context of modernity and multiculturalism. The essays locate the contemporary performing arts as a discursive field in which the boundaries between tradition and translation, and authenticity and hybridity are redefined and negotiated to create a multitude of meaning and aesthetics in global and local contexts. With contributions from scholars of Asian studies, theatre studies, anthropology, cultural studies, dance ethnology and musicology, this truly interdisciplinary work covers every aspect of the sociology of performance of the Asian diasporas.

Excerpt

One of the most prominent features of the Chinese nation is that it is the world's most populous. According to the 2000 census, the population of China itself was 1.26583 billion (NBS 2002:95), with Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan accounting for approximately an additional 29.5 million (Mackerras 2001:212). the number of Chinese people living outside China is very difficult to calculate for a variety of reasons including the vagueness, in many cases, of who precisely should be counted as Chinese, but one calculation put the number worldwide in 1993 at 43.2 million (Turner 2002:445). the two countries with the largest number of Chinese were Indonesia and Thailand, with 7.3 and 6 million respectively in 1990 (Ye 2000:203). the country with the highest proportion of Chinese, outside China, is Singapore, where, according to the 2000 census, the Chinese numbered 2,505,379, or 76.8 per cent (Turner 2002:1404). the country outside Asia with the largest Chinese population is the us, the 1990 census showing a total of 1.2 million people who spoke Chinese in the home (Turner 2002:1733).

This chapter aims to provide some useful ideas about the nature of the Chinese diasporas and the role of performing arts in their modernizing culture and in establishing their identity. the time focus of this paper is the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. the people of relevance are, of course, the Chinese. These are taken to encompass the population of China, including the minority nationalities, and the Chinese population outside China.

Chinese diaspora

Some specialists criticize the use of the term diaspora to apply to ethnic minorities within another country (e.g. Vertovec 1996:100). However, provided they fit into a definition which sees diasporas as people who dwell outside their own state but maintain their own culture, then it seems to me legitimate to use the term.

The figures given at the beginning of this chapter show that there are many Chinese diasporas and that the number of people included in them

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