China Studies Academic Seminar: Madonna goes East



  • Date: Thursday, 18 April, 2019
  • Time: 5:30 – 7:00PM
  • Venue: HS436, HS Building


Starting from the 1980s when cassettes and CDs became obsolete in the US due to the rise of digital music, they were treated as commercial waste, punched with a cut, and exported to China as plastic material for recycling. In the same historical location, only few American artists' albums were officially released in China, yet, American musical waste offered Chinese audiences a broader choice and were widely resold in China's privatized record stores instead of being recycled. This talk focuses on the construction of Madonna's star image in China and explores how Madonna's music was introduced to China through the help of American musical waste. Drawing on Madonna's case, this paper outlines the challenges that American artists encountered in promoting their music on a global scale and argues that the repurpose of American musical waste opened up a space previously unavailable to them.


Dr Chang Liu
Affiliated Researcher at the Jilin University Institute for China Studies

Chang Liu is writing his dissertation on the cultural and environmental implications of American musical waste in China, at Heidelberg University, Germany. He received his master degree from Bayreuth University major in Intercultural Anglophone Studies, and then he further studied American Studies and Sinology at Würzburg University. Before pursuing a research career in the academia, he was the musical affairs officer of the French Embassy in China and engaged in the Sino-France musical diplomacy.