Singing a New Song: Christian Musical Literature for Chinese Women in the Republican Era

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    This paper focuses on the songs circulated in the first Christian woman's magazine in China, Nu duo (1912-1951). Its first editor, American missionary Laura M. White (1867-1937), played a crucial role in creating a wide range of music for Chinese girls through journalism. White used print media to circulate songs that were viewed as an integral part of the spiritual life of ideal womanhood. Unlike the hymnody confined to congregational worship, the music circulated through Nu duo aimed to promote a vocalised expression of Christian faith in everyday life. This spiritual life was interwoven with secular concerns about the nation, social issues and home life. An exploration of music literature published in Nu duo shows how Western music was translated into local language that aimed to reach female Christians in mission schools and at home. It provided an alternative to the dominant indigenous development of Protestant hymnody in the Republican era. It went beyond the foreign and local dichotomy with a concept of universal modern citizenship. Furthermore, it added a gendered perspective to Christian sacred music that was linked to the creation of a sense of a female fellowship.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)28-48
    JournalStudies in World Christianity
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


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