Whose Decolonisation? Checking for Intersectionality, Lane-Policing and Academic Privilege from a Transnational (Chinese) Vantage Point

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This reflective article addresses current flashpoints around different/conflicting projections on decolonial music initiatives around the world, including conversational fronts in multiple, intersectional contexts. I speak first from my own positionality as a woman scholar-musician-educator of postcolonial and transnational Singaporean heritage working primarily in the UK as a member of a minority community: I recall surreal experiences of music education in Southeast/East Asia before examining more recent attempts to diversify music curricula and music representation in the UK. My perspectives are necessarily shot with privilege (Chinese, academic, institutional) as well as with continued, lived experiences of structural racisms—a term I use in the plural. I pose questions about musical choice, agency and personal boundaries in these ambiguous and fraught spaces—increasingly recalibrated in new ways by social media and shifting global tectonic plates platforming the rise of East Asia (particularly, China) as a source of economic and musical opportunity. Here, understandings of intersectionality crucial, where the highlighting of perspectives from the Global South alongside new configurations of the Global North have also become necessary alongside considerations of academic privilege and aspirational cosmopolitanism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-162
Number of pages23
JournalEthnomusicology Forum
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jun 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jun 2021


  • Decolonization, ethnomusicology, music education

Cite this