Meng Ren, a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology, is among the 22 recipients of this year’s Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation (CCKF) Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship in the North American region. The CCKF Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships are awarded annually by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange to outstanding PhD candidates in the broadly-defined field of Chinese Studies/Sinology for their dissertation completions.
Meng was awarded an Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship (2014–15) for his dissertation project. Aiming for the very first English-language study on China’s most popular regional operatic genre Henan Opera (Yuju), Meng’s project investigates the popularization of this genre in the early years of the People’s Republic of China through Chang Xiangyu’s play Hua Mulan, documenting the impact of the State and Communist ideology on artistic works and artists in the 1950s and analyzing emotional reception, symbolism, and gender presentation in Hua Mulan. It will also be the first academic account on the Chinese performing arts during the Korean War (1950-53).
Since July 2014, Meng has conducted archival research and interviews in central and northwest China as well as in south Taiwan. During his fieldwork in China, Meng became a research associate at the Henan Provincial Institute of Culture and Art Research and at the newly-opened Henan Operatic Sound Museum. He arranged special book-donations from these Chinese institutions to Harvard Yenching Library, University of Michigan Asia Library, and University of Pittsburgh East Asian Library, where he had previously conducted dissertation research.
Meng has presented a part of his project at the Seventh International Doctoral Workshop in Ethnomusicology this June in Germany and will present more of his research at the 2015 SEM Annual Meeting this December in Austin, Texas.