I’m an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies, and Social Sciences hosted by the Department of Music at University College Cork, National University of Ireland. Quite a mouth full, eh? It’s a two-year position.
Intertextuality in Chinese Martial Arts: Transnational Identity Construction at the Junctures of Kung Fu, Music, Lion Dance, and Film
In the emerging postmodern era, the tactics people use to (trans)form their identities have taken on increased significance vis-à-vis transnational flows and the hegemony of dominant groups. The Chinese diaspora (historically Cantonese, i.e., from southern China’s Guangdong Province) and Hong Kong’s fraught East/West position provide compelling case studies for broader global comparison. Drawing on ethnographic data and cinematic text analysis, my research explores the power of music in Chinese martial arts discourse. Kung fu, as these interdisciplinary systems of fighting skills are collectively known, is not simply about self-defence, but also the way heroic ideals are embodied in performance. A continuum of efficacy and entertainment allows kung fu to act as a flexible medium for expressing values and beliefs as well as negotiating multicultural contexts. I study martial arts and music in/as Southern Chinese culture (including Hong Kong and the diaspora), in order to examine resistance to ethnic discrimination, the embodiment of identity, and the resilience of abstract nationalism. In this way, kung fu provides a lens for looking at issues of pressing worldwide concern that affect many migrants and diasporic groups.