Book Projects


The Golden Age of Chinese Indie Rock

Currently completing a book manuscript on Chinese indie rock music scene, based on field research in rock clubs and festivals in China conducted since 2007.  This project has already resulted in the independent documentary film, Down:  Indie Rock in the PRC which has screened at film festivals and academic conferences worldwide.  Drawing from numerous site visits and interviews with rock musicians, managers, promoters, club owners, and record label owners, this book will explore issues of alternative identity and community formation among Chinese youths, creative expression, globalization, and performance in the contemporary Chinese independent music world.


The Nakayama Affair and Sino-Japanese Relations in Shanghai, 1935-1937

This project comes from the discovery of a large set of files in the Shanghai Municipal Police Files relating to a murder case. In 1935, a Japanese officer in Shanghai was shot and killed by an unknown assailant. Using a combination of newspaper and archival records in the Shanghai and Tokyo archives, as well as testimony from the Japanese detective who pursued this case and brought the alleged killers to justice, this project examines the legal and political ramifications of this incident and its importance in the history of Sino-Japanese relations leading up to Japan's full-scale invasion of China in 1937.

The Mayor of Occupied Shanghai, 1940-1946

This research project follows the story of controversial historical figure Chen Gongbo, who emerged as a leader in the 1930s and joined the pro-Japanese government in the 1940s, serving as Shanghai’s mayor.  I have conducted interviews with his surviving son and have been given access to his own private collection of original materials—letters, poems, and many other documents relating the life of Chen Gongbo.  Through additional research in the Shanghai archives I plan to flesh out his brief but important stint as Shanghai’s mayor in the height of the Japanese occupation era in the 1940s, ending with his death by firing squad in 1946.  

Documentary Projects

Creative Communities in Contemporary Chinese Visual Arts

Since 2011, we have collected over 100 hours of footage of contemporary Chinese artists, and have conducted extensive interviews with many leading artists, critics, collectors and curators in China who emerged since the 1980s.  This film and writing project documents the efforts of Chinese artists to create their own styles of visual and performance art, focusing on two controversial artists who emerged in the avant-garde scene in the late 1980s and are still active today.

Jazz and Blues ala Shanghai

This project began in 2004 documenting jazz and blues musicians in Shanghai. This project has already accumulated dozens of hours of footage including extended interviews with musicians and club owners as well as footage of live performances in clubs such as Cotton Club, JZ Club, and House of Blues and Jazz.