Nathanel Amar

Dr. Nathanel Amar holds degrees from Sorbonne University, Paris 1 (BA, MA) in philosophy and Sciences Po, Paris (BA, MA, PhD) in political science. His PhD, defended in December 2015, focused on the making of a counter-cultural sphere in contemporary China, and made extensive use of ethnographic fieldwork among Chinese punk and independent filmmaker communities. His primary research areas include pop culture and cultural hegemony, and the relationship between Chinese counter-culture and mainstream culture and identity politics.
Nathanel taught Chinese sociology, cultural studies and international relations at Sciences Po Paris from 2015 to 2017, and worked as a research assistant in the Sino-French Center for social science at Tsinghua University (Beijing) from 2013 to 2015.

As a member of HKU’s Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Nathanel plans to work on popular music at China’s peripheries, but also on other cultural phenomenon, such as the popularization of hip-hop or tattoos in mainland China. Combined with his doctoral research on Chinese punks, this project will lead to a better understanding of Chinese popular culture and strategies of resistance.


Academic Blog: Scream for Life, digital archives of alternative music in contemporary China.

At HKU, Nathanel Amar is affiliated with China Studies.

Recent publications:
“Drunk is Beautiful. Boire au bord de l’eau : usage de l’alcool dans la communauté punk chinoise”, Civilisations, 66, 2017, p. 139-155, online:

““你有freestyle吗?” (Do you freestyle?) The Roots of Censorship in Chinese Hip-hop”, China Perspectives, 2018/1-2, online:

Review of “Yiu-Wai Chu, Hong Kong Cantopop: A Concise History“, China Perspectives, 2017/4, online:

“Piece of garbage complains to China’s Bureau of Culture regarding punk legends SMZB”, Unite Asia, 19 January 2018, online:

Latest conferences:

Remembering China’s Past: Punk Songs and Alternative History“, The 6th Symposium of the Study Group on Musics of East Asia, August 23 2018, National Gugak Center, Seoul.

“The Lives of Dakou in China: From Waste to Nostalgia”, AFEC International Workshop Chinese Objects and their Lives, June 15 2018, INALCO, Paris.

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