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date: 20 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the preoccupation of Chinese intellectuals, translators, writers, and performers with the power of voice and sound by analyzing the prominent role of “The Internationale” throughout the changing landscape of Chinese cultural performance. It traces how “The Internationale” evolved from its French and Soviet roots into a Chinese nationalist song and how it became a rally song to mobilize the Chinese masses, preserving its popularity through political vicissitudes up until the postsocialist era. Despite the song’s historical involvement in the construction of revolutionary discourse, “The Internationale” has retained its function as a song of memory and of counterculture for manipulating the very revolutionary beliefs it had helped promote. As a site of sonic construction of knowledge and power, “The Internationale” embodies and manifests complex and paradoxical impulses, which can at once legitimize and challenge the status quo and its authoritarian system.

Keywords: The Internationale, performance, sound, propaganda

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