Taruskin in China: A Conversation with Susan McClary

Friday 2 December, 12-1 pm  (AEST)

Organised by Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the Institute for Australian and Chinese Arts and Culture at Western Sydney University

Taruskin in China (1170 x 500 px)

Guest speaker Prof Susan McClary | Case Western Reserve University

Interviewer Dr Gavin Lee | Soochow University; Western Sydney University

Chair Xu Lufan | Shanghai Conservatory

Discussants & Translators He Xian | Sichuan Conservatory; Liu Peng


Taruskin is one of the most prominent figures in music studies, with his Oxford History of Western Music making waves in China in recent years. This panel features Susan McClary, one of Taruskin's key interlocutors in music studies, in conversation with Gavin Lee, in which we discuss Taruskin's legacy and his significance for Chinese scholarship, examining which aspects of his work has increasing or fading relevance for music studies both in the West and beyond.


Susan McClary 
Prof Susan McClary (B Mus, SIU; PhD, Harvard) is Fynette H. Kulas Professor of Music at Case Western Reserve University; she has also held professorships at the University of Minnesota, McGill University, UCLA, and University of Oslo. Her research focuses on the cultural analysis of music, both the European canon and contemporary popular genres. In contrast with an aesthetic tradition that treats music as ineffable and transcendent, her work engages with the signifying dimensions of musical procedures and deals with this elusive medium as a set of social practices. Best known for her book Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality (1991), she is also author of Georges Bizet: Carmen (1992), Conventional Wisdom: The Content of Musical Form (Bloch Lectures, 2000), Modal Subjectivities: Renaissance Self-Fashioning in the Italian Madrigal (2004), Reading Music: Selected Essays (2007), Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music (2012), The Passions of Peter Sellars: Staging the Music (2019), co-editor of Music and Society: The Politics of Composition, Performance and Reception (1987), and editor of Structures of Feeling in Seventeenth-Century Expressive Culture (2012). Her work has been translated into at least twenty languages, and she has advised more than fifty dissertations. McClary received a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowship in 1995.
Gavin Lee a Dr Gavin Lee is Assistant Professor of Music at Soochow University (China) and Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Australian and Chinese Arts and Culture at Western Sydney University. His research on decolonial and queer theory, Sinophone musics and music epistemology, and global music history and global musical modernisms, appear in Journal of the Royal Musical AssociationCurrent MusicologyMusic Theory Spectrum, and Music Analysis. He is the author of Estrangement from Ethnicity: Music and Sinophone Alienation (forthcoming, University of Michigan Press) and has edited two books, Queer Ear: Remaking Music Theory (forthcoming, Oxford) and Rethinking Difference in Gender, Sexuality and Popular Music (Routledge). In recent years, Lee has presented guest lectures on three continents at universities in the US, Australia, and Taiwan. Aside from Sinophone topics, specifically on racial alienation in music, Lee’s decolonial research encompasses the critique of distortionary anti-racist stereotypes such as the “resistive ethnic other” in US-centric diversity frameworks (how likely is it that global others are resisting Western music in US undergraduate music curricula, rather than colonial histories of slavery and genocide?), as well as, more generally, a decolonial epistemology of music that departs from North American knowledge structures.


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