Think Pieces: Improvisation and Orientalism in PRC

Think Pieces is a special project curated by PhD student Mark Kaethler (School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph).

In this piece, Tobin Chodos returns to his work on improvisation in the People’s Republic of China, having engaged with the ideas in Edward Said’s Orientalism, which examines the ways in which western culture (or the occident) deplorably exoticizes the eastern Other (or the orient). In doing so, Chodos provides a valuable lesson on the importance of integrating theory with practice in a conscientious and ethical manner. This application leads to an interesting analysis of improvisation’s forms of currency in the city of Beijing and how they are different from those found in Shanghai. Chodos concludes by offering some poignant statements concerning his future methodology, as he moves forward, cautiously, with his research.

Tobin Chodos is a PhD student at UC San Diego, with a joint concentration in Composition and Integrative Studies. Improvisation and Orientalism in PRC is part of project called “Improvisation in the PRC,” supported by the Asian Cultural Council.

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