Reading Questions for Session 4

Please be prepared to discuss these questions in class.

  1. Who was Li Jinhui? How has his legacy typically been treated by Chinese historians? How does Jones differ in his approach?
  2. What did critics of "yellow music" mean when they characterized the style as "decadent" and "vulgar"?
  3. Who was Nie Er and what was the relationship to Li Jinhui?
  4. What does the term "yellow music" mean?
  5. Why was Li Jinhui's use of female performers in his song and dance troupe controversial?
  6. How is the notion of "mass ornament" (p. 96) related to later representations of "mobilized masses" (p. 101)?
  7. What is "phonographic realism" and what did it have to do with Nie Er's political agenda?
  8. Describe in a few sentences how leftist filmmakers and composers appropriated the figure of the "sing-song" girl. What kind of symbolic power did she assume in their work?