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Avital Rom

Avital Rom

PhD Student in Chinese Studies


2015 -  present    PhD candidate, Pre-Modern Chinese Studies, University of Cambridge.

2014 - 2015        MPhil in Pre-Modern Chinese Studies, University of Cambridge. Supervised by Professor Roel Sterckx. 

                             Thesis title: Echoing Rulership - Understanding Musical References in the Huainanzi

2010 - 2013        BA (Summa Cum Laude), Tel-Aviv University
                          Department of East Asian Studies, with an extension in Business Administration

2007 - 2010        Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music (Ramat-Hasharon, Israel).

Subject groups/Research projects

Chinese Studies:

Research Interests

Musical thought in early China and general early Chinese philosophical and political thought; music and political power; the role of music in literature (aka Word and Music Studies); historical/cultural ethnomusicology; narrative and music; ritual-music relations in early China.


My current research focuses on textual references to music in early China, and mostly in the Warring States and Western Han periods. I look at textual musical references as possible rhetorical tools, and aim to demonstrate how the musical culture of Warring States and Han societies reflects their culture as a whole. 



Other Professional Activities

2012- 2013       Tel-Aviv University- Research assistant to Professor Aron Shai (University Rector) and assistant coordinator at                                         the office of International Academic Affairs.

Selected Presentations:

2017                 'Drums and Warfare in Early China', talk at the International Academic Conference on Philosophy and                                                       Technology in Early China' (hosted by the Chinese Studies Council, Yale-NUS College, in                                                                         conjunction with the Needham Research Institute and the Department of East Asian                                                                              Studies, University of Cambridge). Singapore, August 18-20, 2017. 


2017                 'The Rhetoric of Telling and Retelling Music Narratives: Understanding Han Thinkers through an Analysis of                                              their Accounts on Musicians', talk at AAS annual conference. Toronto, March 18, 2017. 


2016                 ‘Beat the Drums or Break Them: observing several types of drums, their functions and ways of usage in the                                            Huainanzi’, talk at Needham Research Institute Text Reading Seminar. University of Cambridge,                                                              Jan. 22,2016.

2015                 ‘Echoing Rulership: Understanding Musical References in the Huainanzi’, talk at East Asian Studies                                                           Postgraduate Research Seminar, University of Cambridge. Nov. 10, 2015.                         

2015                 ‘Musical Images and the Imagination of Music in the Huainanzi’, Rombouts-Shilin Graduate                                                                        Conference, Leiden University. Sep. 2-3 2015

Key Publications


Rom, Avital H. "Echoing Rulership - Understanding Musical References in the Huainanzi" in Early China, vol. 40 (upcoming, Sep 2017. Published online April, 2017)

Book Reviews: 

Rom, Avital H. "Zhuo Sun: The Chinese Zheng Zither: Contemporary Transformations" in: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 79.3 (October 2016)