Practising Cultural Inclusivity During the Pandemic: A Case Study of an Online Composition Course in Canada
Requires Subscription PDF

How to Cite

Xia, J. (2023). Practising Cultural Inclusivity During the Pandemic: A Case Study of an Online Composition Course in Canada. MUSICultures, 50, 31–50. Retrieved from


The PhoeNX Ensemble-Memorial University composition course offers a case study of university-level pedagogical, intercultural music-making and its potential to engage the question of how music education can help to address existing racial and cultural tensions in society. During the course, racial and cultural concerns surfaced when participants negotiated their individual positionalities. An analysis of the multifaceted interactions demonstrates how this composition course exemplifies a meaningful and valuable path toward inclusive and anti-racist pedagogy in the Canadian classroom. Such approaches can address cultural misunderstanding and social injustice in the university context.

Requires Subscription PDF


Anagnost, Ann. 2000. Scenes of Misrecognition: Maternal Citizenship in the Age of Transnational Adoption. Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique 8 (2): 389–421.

Ancheta, Angelo N. 2006. Race, Rights, and the Asian American Experience. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Attariwala, Parmela Singh. 2013. Tuning into the Effects of Multiculturalism on Publicly Funded Canadian Music. PhD dissertation, University of Toronto.

Benessaieh, Afef. 2010. Multiculturalism, Interculturality, Transculturality. In Amériques transculturelles – Transcultural Americas, 11–38. Ed. Afef Benessaieh. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.

Bhabha, Homi K. 2004. The Location of Culture. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

Campbell, Patricia Shehan. 2002. Music Education in a Time of Cultural Transformation. Music Educators Journal 89 (1): 27–32.

Carson, Charles, and Maria Westvall. 2016. Intercultural Approaches and “Diversified Normality” in Music Teacher Education: Reflections from Two Angles. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education (ACT) 15 (3): 37–52.

Chivers, Sarah, and Jolene D. Smyth. 2011. Challenging Our Textbooks and Our Teachings: Examining the Reproduction of Racism in the Sociology Classroom.

In Covert Racism: Theories, Institutions, and Experiences, 189–209. Ed. Rodney D. Coates. Leiden: Brill.

Costello, Matthew, Long Cheng, Feng Luo, Hongxin Hu, Song Liao, Nishant Vishwamitra, Mingqi Li, and Ebuka Okpala. 2021. COVID-19: A Pandemic of Anti-Asian Cyberhate. Journal of Hate Studies 17 (1): 108–18.

Coulthard, Glen Sean. 2014. Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Dei, George J. Sefa. 2001. Rescuing Theory: Anti-Racism and Inclusive Education. Race, Gender & Class 8 (1): 139–61.

Dorow, Sara K. 2006. Transnational Adoption: A Cultural Economy of Race, Gender and Kinship. New York: NYU Press.

Ellis, Carolyn, Tony E. Adams, and Arthur P. Bochner. 2011. Autoethnography: An Overview. Historical Social Research (Köln) 36 (4): 273–90.

Feagin, Joe. 2006. Systemic Racism: A Theory of Oppression. New York: Routledge.

Fleras, Augie. 2014. Racisms in a Multicultural Canada: Paradoxes, Politics, and Resistance. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Fléras, Augie, and Jean Leonard Elliott. 1992. Multiculturalism in Canada: The Challenge of Diversity. Scarborough, ON: Nelson Canada.

Gover, Angela R., Shannon B. Harper, and Lynn Langton. 2020. Anti-Asian Hate Crime During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Exploring the Reproduction of Inequality. American Journal of Criminal Justice 45 (4): 647–67.

Graham, Sandra Jean. 2009. Performance as Research (PAR) in North American Ethnomusicology. In Mapping Landscapes for Performance as Research: Scholarly Acts and Creative Cartographies, 99–106. Ed. Shannon Rose Riley and Lynette Hunter. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hess, Juliet. 2015. Decolonizing Music Education: Moving Beyond Tokenism. International Journal of Music Education 33 (3): 336–47.

Hess, Juliet. 2017. Equity and Music Education: Euphemisms, Terminal Naivety, and Whiteness. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education 16 (3): 15–47.

Ibrahim, Awad. 2008. The New Flâneur: Subaltern Cultural Studies, African Youth in Canada and the Semiology of in-Betweenness. Cultural Studies 22 (2): 234–53.

Imbert, Patrick. 2010. Transculturalité et Amériques. In Amériques transculturelles – Transcultural Americas, 33–68. Ed. Afef Benessaieh. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.

Kajikawa, Loren. 2019. The Possessive Investment in Classical Music: Confronting Legacies of White Supremacy in U.S. Schools and Departments of Music. In Seeing Race Again: Countering Colorblindness Across the Disciplines, 155–74. Ed. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Luke Charles Harris, Daniel Martinez HoSang, and George Lipsitz. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Kamboureli, Smaro. 2000. Scandalous Bodies: Diasporic Literature in English Canada. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kendi, Ibram X. 2019. How to Be an Antiracist. New York: One World.

Kishimoto, Kyoko. 2018. Anti-Racist Pedagogy: From Faculty’s Self-Reflection to Organizing Within and Beyond the Classroom. Race Ethnicity and Education 21 (4): 540–54.

Koza, Julia Eklund. 2008. Listening for Whiteness: Hearing Racial Politics in Undergraduate School Music. Philosophy of Music Education Review 16 (2): 145–55.

Kumar, Anant, and K. Rajasekharan Nayar. 2020. COVID-19: Stigma, Discrimination, and the Blame Game. International Journal of Mental Health 49 (4): 382–84.

Lau, Frederick. 2008. Constructing National Music. In Music in China: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture, 30–58. New York: Oxford University Press.

Louie, Andrea. 2015. How Chinese Are You? Adopted Chinese Youth and Their Families Negotiate Identity and Culture. New York: NYU Press.

McPherson, Gary, and Graham Welch. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Music Education. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mittler, Peter J. 2000. Working Towards Inclusive Education: Social Contexts. London: D. Fulton Publishers.

Omi, Michael, and Howard Winant. 1994. Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s. London: Routledge.

Pratt, Mary Louise. 2008. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. New York: Routledge.

Reed-Danahay, Deborah. 2017. Bourdieu and Critical Autoethnography: Implications for Research, Writing, and Teaching. International Journal of Multicultural Education 19 (1): 144–54.

Robinson, Dylan. 2020. Hungry Listening: Resonant Theory for Indigenous Sound Studies. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Saito, Natsu T. 1997. Model Minority, Yellow Peril: Functions of Foreignness in the Construction of Asian American Legal Identity. Asian Law Journal 4: 71–95.

Schumpeter, Joseph. 1942. Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. New York: Harper and Bros.

Sielke, Sabine. 2014. Multiculturalism in the United States and Canada. In The Palgrave Handbook of Comparative North American Literature, 49–64. Ed. Reingard M. Nischik. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Skinner, Jonathan. 2012. The Interview: An Ethnographic Approach. London: Berg.

Tessler, Hannah, Meera Choi, and Grace Kao. 2020. The Anxiety of Being Asian American: Hate Crimes and Negative Biases During the COVID-19 Pandemic. American Journal of Criminal Justice 45: 636–46.

Tuan, Mia. 1998. Forever Foreigners or Honorary Whites? The Asian Ethnic Experience Today. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Urkevich, Lisa A. 2020. Our Rebirth: Reshaping the Music Discipline after the Covid-19 Pandemic. College Music Symposium 60 (1): 1–8.

Vertovec, Steven. 2007. Super-Diversity and Its Implications. Ethnic and Racial Studies 30 (6): 1024–54.

Veugelers, Wiel, and Yvonne Leeman. 2020. Pedagogical Possibilities in Culturally Diverse Educational Contexts: Theory and Practice of Inclusive Education in the Netherlands. In Moving towards Inclusive Education: Diverse National Engagements with Paradoxes of Policy and Practice, 55–67. Ed. Lise Claiborne and Vishalache Balakrishnan. Leiden and Boston: Brill | Sense.

Wong, Deborah. 2006. Asian American Improvisation in Chicago: Tatsu Aoki and the “New” Japanese American Taiko. Critical Studies in Improvisation 1 (3): 1–33.

Wu, Fengbin (吴凤斌). 1986. Qiyue Huagong Yanbian Qianxi [The Evolution of Indentured Chinese Laborers] 契约华工演变浅析. Nanyang Problems 4: 119–28.

  • The author retains copyright over the work.
  • The author grants the journal owner (The Canadian Society for Traditional Music / La Société canadienne pour les traditions musicales) an exclusive license to publish the work.
  • The author may post a pre-print or post-print version of the work (see definitions below) on a personal website for up to twelve months after the work is published in MUSICultures. After twelve months, the pre-print version must be replaced with the published version.
  • The author may deposit the published PDF of the work in a non-commercial online repository twelve months after the work is published in MUSICultures, or any time thereafter.
  • Any such deposit must include a link to the work on the MUSICultures website, e.g.,

A pre-print is a work-in-progress—a contribution not yet accepted, or perhaps even submitted, to MUSICultures.

A post-print is the version of a contribution after peer review and acceptance by MUSICultures, with revisions completed.

The published version is the PDF file of a contribution as it appears in MUSICultures.

Please note that and are both for-profit repositories; authors may not deposit the published PDF of the work in these repositories until after the journal’s embargo period.

For permission to reprint or translate material from MUSICultures, please contact Heather Sparling, General Editor of MUSICultures (