the new school's college of performing arts announces appointment of ho chak law to faculty

Ho Chak Law

July 27, 2022, New York - The College of Performing Arts at The New School, including Mannes School of Music, the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, and the School of Drama, announced today that Ho Chak Law has been appointed as Assistant Professor, Race and Musicology and Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

Law’s appointment begins with a two-year postdoctoral fellowship during which time he will develop research projects centered on the examination of race in musicology, ethnomusicology, and/or music history and critically examine the construction, impact, and effects of race representations in music and the performing arts. Law will focus on the implications of a broader inclusion (or lack thereof) of diverse voices in creation, performance, distribution, theory, history, and performing arts organizational structures.

This position is part of the new Mellon Initiative for Inclusive Faculty Excellence at The New School which fosters the essential mentorship and professional development of emerging scholars at the doctoral, post-doctoral, and professorship levels. The program brings together scholars from across the university who use race as a primary lens to analyze structural inequality.

The Mellon Initiative will integrate a cohort of recent PhDs into the academic community at The New School by providing support, mentorship and participation in the Mellon Transformative Seminar, an interdisciplinary seminar bringing together members of the community representing diverse scholarship across The New School.

“An extraordinary pool of scholar-artists threw their hats in the ring for this exciting position, and Ho Chak Law rose to the top through the originality of his research, artistic point of view, and infectious enthusiasm. I have no doubt that Dr. Law will do great things for our students, university, and fields of study and practice”, said Richard Kessler, Executive Dean of the College of Performing Arts.

“It is my pleasure to join the College of Performing Arts where I will be able to pursue my interdisciplinary research and teaching with an exciting group of students, scholars, and performing arts practitioners,” said Law. “With a particular interest in connecting performing arts with cultural politics and current issues, I look forward to my conversations and collaborations with this exciting group and the vibrant faculty at The New School.”

Ho Chak Law is a musicologist whose research and teaching traverse the fields of media anthropology, cinema studies, cultural history, performance studies, postcolonial studies, Sinology, and Sinophone studies. He received a BA in comparative literature from the University of Hong Kong in 2008, an MPhil in musicology from the University of Hong Kong in 2011, and a PhD in musicology from the University of Michigan in 2018. His dissertation “Cinematizing Chinese Opera, Performing Chinese Identities, 1945–1971” examines Chinese opera on film as a contentious manifestation of Sinophone transnationalism within the context of the Cold War. His publications could be found in academic journals such as TDR: The Drama Review and Music and the Moving Image, edited volumes such as At the Crossroads of Music and Social Justice (Indiana University Press, in press) and Teaching Film from the People’s Republic of China (Modern Language Association, in press), and websites such as Smithsonian Folklife Magazine and Hong Kong Protesting. He has also been presenting his research in national and international conferences such as the annual meetings of the Society for Ethnomusicology and the world conferences of the International Council for Traditional Music and the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. He was a recipient of Barbara Barnard Smith Prize (Association for Chinese Music Research) and Honorable Mention in Social Justice Paper Prize (the Society for Ethnomusicology), and his research was supported by grants and fellowships offered by the University of Michigan, the University of Pittsburgh, the Henry Luce Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, and Hong Kong Arts Development Council.

Before joining The New School, Law taught at the University of Hong Kong, the University of Michigan, and Hong Kong Baptist University in different capacities. He also volunteered full- time for Michigan College Access Network and Michigan Promise Zones Association. Furthermore, as a musician, he has been playing sheng, the Chinese mouth organ, as both a soloist and a modern Chinese orchestra player; he won several prizes in the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival between 2000 and 2004. He also has several years of experience playing in a Javanese gamelan ensemble.

The College of Performing Arts at The New School (CoPA) was formed in 2015 through the merger of what were three separate schools at The New School: the Mannes School of Music, the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, and the School of Drama. With each school contributing its unique culture of creative excellence, today the College of Performing Arts is a hub for cross-disciplinary collaboration, bold experimentation, innovative education, and world-class performances.

The over 1,100 students at CoPA are actors, performers, writers, improvisers, creative technologists, entrepreneurs, composers, arts managers, and multidisciplinary artists who believe in the transformative power of the arts for all people. Students and faculty at CoPA collaborate with colleagues across The New School in a wide array of disciplines, from the visual arts and fashion design, to the social sciences, public policy, advocacy, and more. 

The curriculum at CoPA is dynamic, inclusive, and responsive to the changing arts and culture landscape. New degrees and coursework, like the new graduate degrees for Performer-Composers and Artist Entrepreneurs, are designed to challenge highly skilled artists to experiment, innovate, and engage with the past, present, and future of their artforms. New York City’s Greenwich Village provides the backdrop for the College of Performing Arts, which is housed at Arnhold Hall on West 13th Street, and the historic Westbeth Artists Community on Bank Street.


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Media Contacts:

Will Wilbur,
The New School
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