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[May 16] Book Talk: Renegade Rhymes with Meredith Schweig

April 11, 2024

On Thursday, May 16 from 3:30 to 5pm in THO 317 and online via Zoom, the UW Taiwan Studies Program will welcome Professor Meredith Schweig to discuss her newest book Renegade Rhymes: Rap Music, Narrative, and Knowledge in Taiwan (University of Chicago Press, 2022).

Renegade Rhymes invites readers into Taiwan’s vibrant underground hip-hop scene to explore the social, cultural, and political dynamics of life in a post-authoritarian democracy. Beginning in the immediate aftermath of martial law (1949-1987), the book follows Taiwan’s earliest rappers and DJs as they critiqued the island’s political system, spun tales from their perspectives as members of marginalized ethnic communities, and reimagined previously suppressed local musical forms. A series of ethnographic and historical chapters trace an arc between these earliest interventions and the innovations of present-day musicians, who grapple with ongoing existential uncertainty imposed by the island’s ambiguous geopolitical status and accelerating neoliberalization. The book argues that rap artists past and present configure post-authoritarianism as a creative political intervention, whose ultimate objective is the reordering of epistemic hierarchies, power structures, and gender relations.  

Register with the QR code below or at our Ticketleap page by clicking here.

Meredith Schweig completed her MA and PhD in ethnomusicology at Harvard University, where she also received her BA in Music and East Asian Studies. Schweig is associate professor of ethnomusicology at Emory University and is the recipient of a 2023-2024 Scholar Grant from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. Previously, she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Taiwan (2020-2021), and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities and Hyperstudio Fellow at MIT (2013-2015). Her 2016 article “‘Young Soldiers, One Day We Will Change Taiwan’: Masculinity Politics in the Taiwan Rap Scene” was awarded both the Marcia Herndon Prize and the Jaap Kunst Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology. Her 2014 article “Hoklo Hip-Hop: Re-signifying Rap as Local Narrative Tradition in Taiwan” was awarded the Rulan Chao Pian Publication Prize from the Association for Chinese Music Research. She is working on a second book which explores questions about vocality, agency, and transmedia storytelling through a study of global pop icon Teresa Teng.


This event was made possible by the generous support of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange.