Pop and Politics in East Asia (Masters)

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Arts & Department of Music

Module overview

The module will be taken by MA Music students who wish to specialise in East Asia, and may also be taken as a complementary module by those whose primary focus is another region.

Objectives and learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the development of contemporary musical genres in 20th and 21st century China, Japan and Korea. Topics will include popular styles, classical composition, the modernisation of local traditions, and the treatment of traditions as intangible cultural heritage.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of issues surrounding the manipulation of music for political ends, the impact of political ideology on musical aesthetics and form, the relationships between music and political power structures, nationalism and local identities, gender, and globalisation.
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the workings of the pop music market in East Asia, and be able to deal critically with issues of distribution, marketing and copyright and various forms of technological mediation including the internet.


  • Lectures: 1 hour per week
  • Seminars: 1 hour per week

Method of assessment

  • 2,500-words essay or 20-minute radio programme (worth 75% of marks)
  • 20-minute seminar presentation (worth 25%)

Suggested reading

  • Chun, Rossiter & Shoesmith eds. (2004) Refashioning pop music in Asia: cosmopolitan flows, political tempos and aesthetic industries. Richmond: Curzon.
  • Condry, Ian. "Yellow B-Boys, Black Culture, and the Elvis Effect." In Hip-Hop Japan and the Paths of Cultural Globalization. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
  • ___. 2001. Japanese hip-hop and the Globalization of popular culture. In Urban Life: Readings in the Anthropology of the City, edited by George Gmelch and Walther Zenner. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press pp. 357-387.
  • Fung, Anthony (2008) ‘Western Style, Chinese Pop: Jay Chou's Rap and Hip-Hop in China’, Asian Music 39/1:69-80.
  • Harris, Rachel (2005) ‘Reggae on the Silk Road: the globalisation of Uyghur pop’, China Quarterly 183, 627-643.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.