Dr. Rossella Ferrari

I am a Professor of China Studies in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Vienna. My research focuses primarily on the performance cultures of the contemporary Chinese-speaking world. In "Pop Goes the Avant-garde: Experimental Theatre in Contemporary China" (2012), I propose the concept of “pop avant-garde” to understand the aesthetic and power relationships between performance, politics, and economics in postsocialist China. Extensive research on Hong Kong’s transmedia collective, Zuni Icosahedron, has led me to explore connections between theatre and other disciplines (e.g. film, architecture, visual arts) and to think through the idea of what I define as “Xiqu 2.0”, i.e. how classical performance genres interact with new technologies and techniques. I have drawn on Asia-focused methodologies to formulate the notion of “Asian theatre as method”, which aims to destabilize Western-centred approaches to intercultural analysis while investigating processes of informal reconciliation through the arts. My third monograph, "Transnational Chinese Theatres: Intercultural Performance Networks in East Asia" (2020), explores transnational performance networks in the contemporary Sinosphere and across East Asia to see how contested historical memories and sociopolitical conflict have been tackled collectively and comparatively through intercultural collaboration. Another forthcoming book, "Asian City Crossings: Pathways of Performance Through Hong Kong and Singapore" (co-edited with Ashley Thorpe) proposes the notion of “city as method” to look specifically at city-to-city networks centred on Hong Kong and Singapore. I have also researched strategies of intertextuality and adaptation between Chinese, Asian, and global performance cultures (e.g. Latin America). I remain deeply invested in new approaches to theatre-making in mainland China, and I am currently planning a new long-term project on the concept of “performing postsocialism”.