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East Asian Identities and Cultures

Issues concerning ethnic and religious, cultural, social and sexual/gender identities in literature, film, music and historiography are the focal points of this cluster.

Caroline Rose ...

Marjorie Dryburgh ...

Sarah Dauncey’s research relates to the representation of disability and disabled life stories in contemporary China, particularly in film, literature and texts, such as biographies and blogs. This work focuses on how people with various types of impairment are depicted in different types of media. How these images contribute to the formation and articulation of identities is one of her key questions. Sarah is a co-organiser of the workshop 'Writing Lives in China'.

The life and work of the 17th century dramatist, poet and politician Ruan Dacheng has captured the interest of Alison Hardie. Much of Ruan’s poetry and drama can be understood as self-defence, influenced by new concepts of individuality in early modern China. Previous research by Alison focused on Chinese garden culture and the social uses of Chinese gardens in the late Ming dynasty. She has given public talks across the USA and been interviewed by BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on this subject.

Li Ruru argues that in Jingju theatre the performer is the ultimate creator, not only producing the performance text, but also responding to all the often contradictory demands of past and present. She is elaborating on this idea in her soon to be published monograph Challenge and Response: Performing Jingju from the Mid- Nineteenth Century to the Present. Li has been a keynote speaker at the National Taiwan University Shakespeare Forum and is involved in a bid to the European cross-cultural project fund for a project including the participation of Opera North and the Shanghai Theatre Academy. She is also an Associate Director for the '100 Words Creativity' workshop series in the UK and China (

Jonathan Stock is interested in the topics of biography and ethnography, as well as in musical and theatrical performance. He is arranging concerts and music workshops (for example, at schools) in and around Sheffield. Jonathan is a research consultant at the Hong Kong Baptist University in musicology and ethnomusicology and has established associations with institutions in Shanghai, Zhejiang, and Taiwan.

Further members of this cluster include: Lily Chen, Tom McAuley, David Pattinson, Nicolas Tranter, Frances Weightman, Yang Lan, Jane Caple, Michael Smith, Stephanie Anne Durand and Paola Cavaliere.