I managed to write a significant portion of my dissertation over the summer because of the Long-Ling Hsiao Chu and Chao Chi Chu Fellowship in Chinese Studies. The fellowship allowedme to completely focuson writing without worrying about finding supplemental funding. My dissertation examines a pivotal period in Chinese history, from the collapse of the Qing Dynasty to the establishment of the People's Republic of China. As an ethnomusicologist, my research highlights music as an integral part of the shifting social landscape in China. The first three chapters of my dissertation investigate the rapid development of the Chinese commercial sound recording industry. During the fellowship term, I was able to analyze archival materials I had previously collected. I evaluated the strategic efforts of American record labels such as Edison Phonograph, Victor Talking Machine, and Columbia Phonograph, who competed for dominance in the Chinese market. My research also illuminated the role of Russian corporations in the spread of sound reproduction technology in Northern China. One such corporation, called Churin and Company, operated a chain of department stores throughout Manchuria and the Russian Far East. These transnational narratives complicate American-centric histories of commercial sound recording. The Long-Ling Hsiao Chu and Chao Chi Chu Fellowship in Chinese Studies provided the support I needed during this critical moment of writing the first few chapters of my dissertation. The work I completed during the fellowship will ensure that I am able to complete my dissertation and eventually write my first book.
- Ryan Gourley