Defining the Asian diaspora presents difficulties not only because of the changing nature of diaspora studies (Appadurai, 2003), but also because of the divergence between perception and the complex reality of Asia’s geographical nature. Furthermore, the lack of commonalities and the significant differences within the Asian diaspora need close examination. For example, the South Asian diaspora is vastly different to the Chinese and Japanese diasporas in the East, and to the West and North Asian diasporas. Several scholars, including Lowe (2003) do not consider Asian Americans as a distinct group and use concepts such as heterogeneity, hybridity, and multiplicity to study these communities. These complexities and the following issues make the teaching of Asian musics in our schools and colleges challenging: the understanding of the continent of Asia in geographical terms, the difference between regional diversity and class/socio-economic variation within a country, and the artificiality of borders. A genuine teaching of music of the Asian diaspora must be based on the encouragement of critical thinking, and a subtle but deep engagement with the context of the musical material, without which any attempt to teach or perform these musics will result in cultural misrepresentation. This paper will frame the following questions within a music education paradigm: How is the Asian diaspora connected to nationalism, transnationalism or transmigration? How is diaspora connected to identity? How does national identity connect to nationhood in Asia? Can the experiences of different generations of Asian Americans be enriched by understanding the changing realities of both home and host societies? In all of diaspora studies, the Asian diaspora, because of the disparate reasons for global dispersion, provoke consideration of gender, religious and ethnic identity, all of which are contextspecific. Susan Hume’s work Teaching about Africa provides a generic structure through which the teaching of Asian musics can be conceptualized; this paper transfers Hume’s guidelines to this area of enquiry and extends it to be more Asia-specific.
de Quadros, André
"Asian Musics in the American Classroom:
Definition, Challenges, Pedagogical Imperatives,"
Visions of Research in Music Education: Vol. 14, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.lib.uconn.edu/vrme/vol14/iss1/3