The CAS theme for the 2020-21 academic year will be “Sound and Noise in Asia.”

With an inspired nudge from our friends at the Center for Humanities and Arts, CAS has come up with a playlist of 12 songs that spoke to us about the challenges of 2020 and our hopes for a better 2021. Enjoy!


The theme will be anchored by the annual CAS Asia Symposium which will explore the sonic sensibilities of modernity in Asia.  Sound is crucial to our processing of the world, and perhaps even more important than vision when it comes to such essential parts of experience as affect, communication, and awareness of a peripheral, surrounding environment. When we consider the sonic sensibility of a listening subject, new hierarchies and ideologies become apparent: what is sound, and what is noise? Which languages are perceived as beautiful? When and why? Which neighborhoods are ruled by infrastructural noise? What does it mean to self-isolate using sound—or to engage in a communal ritual by joining one’s voice to the many?

We invite members of the Asian Studies community on the CU Boulder campus to propose events that relate to, and reflect upon, the theme of sound and noise in Asia. While CAS event funds will be limited due to current budgetary constraint, proposals related to this year’s theme will receive priority for funding.

Sound and Noise in Asia Events

Symposium: Sound and Noise in Asia

  • ‘Instrument of Flesh’: The Operatic Voice in Late Ming Musical Culture​
    Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 4pm MST
  • Voice and Laughter
    Thursday, November 5 at 7pm MST 
  • Noise Aesthetics
    ​Friday, November 6, 2020 at 4pm MST
  • Roundtable Discussion - Sound and Noise in Asia Workshop
    Friday, November 6 at 7pm MST

Sound and Noise in Asia Speaker Series

  • Listening for India: Reading and the Multilingual Nation 
    Madhumita Lahiri, University of Michigan
    December 2 at 4:30pm MST 
  • An Operatic Atmosphere: Sound and Transmediality in Fei Mu’s Spring in a Small Town (1948)
    Zhang Ling, SUNY Purchase
    February 3 at 4:30pm MST
  • From Festival to Decibel: Contestations of Renao and Zaoyin in Taiwan’s Noise Control System
    Jennifer Hsieh, University of Michigan
    March 3 at 4:30pm MST
  • Global Counterhistories of Cambodian Cassette Culture​
    David Novak
    , UC Santa Barbara
    April 7 at 4:30pm MDT
  • PocoDisco: On the Politics of Postcolonial Sonic Space Making
    Roshanak Kheshti, UC San Diego
    May 5 at 4:30pm MDT
  • On Popular Music, Dictatorship, and a Brown Commons - CANCELLED
    Christine Bacareza Balance, Cornell University
    May 26 at 4:30pm MDT

Download the series poster here.