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Historical writings are not only long-established, but are also richly diverse. There have been very significant shifts in the contexts surrounding and impelling the writing of fresh histories of music over the long period of Chinese cultural identity, and historians at any single time have taken multiple and divergent approaches to their subject. This chapter compares how selected histories present four key themes that include music's origins, a connection between a nation's musical pitchscape, the contributions of specialist musicians, and China's music history as an account of culture contact, within and across China's national boundaries. Many historians have documented the importing of foreign sounds throughout the long history of Chinese music, most notably the entertainment orchestras brought to the court from numerous other states during the Tang Dynasty. The writing of musicologist Shen Zhibai offers examples that illustrate what is at stake in the writing of music history.
The globalisation of reggae continues to engender a wide range of highly poignant re-inscriptions and re-interpretations of reggae's sound and of Rastafarian thought. One of the most compelling of these has been the negotiation of Rastafarian and Christian ideologies within the context of Protestant reggae bands and artists. The application of Rastafarian thought, dress and language to the evangelical concerns of Protestants – at times paradoxical, at others ingenious – signals an important moment of inter-religious contact that opens a window onto the complexities and multiple meanings that attach to music and to religious systems as they travel between the local and the global. This essay considers music by Christafari (United States), Sherwin Gardner (Trinidad and Tobago), and Stitchie (Jamaica), and considers questions related to the parallel globalisation of reggae and Rastafari. It does this by interrogating the extent to which authenticity, positionality, and religious context inform the use of and interpretation of Rastafari symbols within gospel reggae. In so doing, I introduce a concept that I call the negotiation of proximity, and offer some reflections on the ways that the Rastafari elements within gospel reggae might be understood in new, global (and newly localised) contexts.