CANCELLED-Guest Speaker-Hyun Kyong Hannah Chang, New York University
Singing and Praying in Trans-Pacific Korea, 1892-1920:
Toward a Global Music Historiography of East Asia
What did it mean for Korean commoner women – Korea’s subalterns – to sing Protestant
hymns in early twentieth-century Korea? This talk examines expressive vocal practices that
emerged out of North American Protestant missionization in Korea, a religious and social
project tied to the U.S.’s Pacific expansionism in the nineteenth century. It focuses on Korean
Christian singing and praying, which received much attention in the writings of the missionaries
and the converts during the decades of missionization.
From my reading of English- and Korean-language sources emerge three “speaker-listeners” –
North American missionaries, Korean elites, and Korean commoners. Attention to interactions
around the voice and to the various self-making practices of the nineteenth century suggests
that Korean Christian vocalizations was as a generative site of encounter between bodies of
uneven power, whose relationship to voicing, listening, and writing was differently conditioned
by history, rather than a site of unidirectional flow of power. My analysis suggests alternative
readings for how ethno/musicology understands identity, agency, and tradition related to East
Asia and seeks to replace a “view-from-nowhere” narrative lens with a global historiography.
Hyun Kyong Hannah Chang is a musicologist and historian with research focus on the
intersection of music, historiography, and modernity in East Asia and North America, from the
late nineteenth century to the twentieth. She is currently teaching “K-pop” and “Global
Musicologies” at NYU’s Department of Music as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music.
Previously, she held research positions at Ewha Women’s University, Yale University, and
Sungkonghoe University. Her book-in-progress, A Vocal Interior: Korean Hymns and Prayers
between US and Japanese Empires, explores Korean Christian vocalization in a critical transborder
framework. Her next project explores the intersection of musical modernism and
socialism in East Asia in the 1930s.