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International Uyghur Study Publications

•    Community Matters in Xinjiang: 1880-1949                  

Towards a Historical Anthropology of the Uyghur

Author: Ildikó Bellér-Hann, Ph.D. (1989) in Turkic Studies, University of Cambridge, is researcher at the Martin-Luther University, Halle/Wittenberg. She has published extensively on the Turkic speaking peoples and cultures of Xinjiang, North-East Turkey and Central Asia.

Published for the Institute for Chinese studies, University of Oxford. Publication year: 2008. Series: China Studies, 17 ISBN-13 : 978 90 04 16675 2 ISSN: 1570-1344 Cover: Hardback Number of pages: xvi, 480 pp. List price: € 115.00 / US$ 171.00 234 x 156 mm. 176 pages. Hardback. CD-ROM ISBN: 978-0-7546-6382-9 £27.50


All those interested in the history and culture of the Uyghur, the social history of Xinjiang, Central Asia and China specialists, historical anthropologists, as well as specialists in the Turkic speaking world. Based on a wide range of Western and local materials, this book offers an introduction to the historical anthropology of the Muslim Uyghur of Xinjiang from the late 19th century to 1949. The author argues that social relations in this era were shaped at all levels by the principles of reciprocity and community. Particular attention is paid to the domestic domain and to life-cycle and religious rituals. This is the first time that Xinjiang has been approached from the perspective of historical anthropology. Giving substance to the concept of tradition which modern Uyghurs invoke when constructing their collective identity, Bellér-Hann's study also has implications for contemporary analyses of inter-ethnic relations in this sensitive region.

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•  Situating the Uyghurs Between China and Central Asia

Edited by Ildikó Bellér-Hann, Martin Luther University, Germany, M. Cristina Cesàro, Independent Scholar, Italy, Rachel Harris, University of London, UK and Joanne Smith Finley, Newcastle University, UK

‘This splendid study of the Uyghurs, a Turkic ethnic group living mostly in western China and Central Asia, is distinguished from other studies by its holistic approach. It examines Uyghur experience not only through politics and history, but with emphasis also on cultural matters like music and food. This is a major contribution to our understanding of this important people.’

– Colin Mackerras, Griffith University, Australia

Publisher: Ashgate (28 Dec 2007) Language English ISBN-10: 0754670414 ISBN-13: 978-0754670414


This volume offers a unique insight into the social and cultural hybridity of the Uyghurs, an officially recognised minority mainly inhabiting the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, with significant populations also living in the Central Asian states. It seeks to bridge a perceived gap in our understanding of this group, which too often has fallen between two regional traditions of scholarship on Central Asia and China: Central Asian studies, with its focus on the post-Soviet Central Asian states, and Sinology.Drawing together twelve international scholars, the volume is comparative and interdisciplinary in focus: Historical chapters explore the deeper problems of Uyghur identity which underpin the contemporary political situation; and sociological and anthropological comparisons of a range of practices from music culture to life-cycle rituals illustrate the dual, fused nature of contemporary Uyghur social and cultural identities. Meanwhile, contributions by 'local' Uyghur authors working within Xinjiang demonstrate the possibilities for Uyghur advocacy in social and cultural policy-making, even within the current political climate.



Part I The Historical Perspective:

'Us and them' in 18th and 19th century Xinjiang, Laura Newby.

The Uyghurs as a part of Central Asian commonality: Soviet historiography on the Uyghurs, Ablet Kamalov.

Part II Uyghur Culture: Issues of Music, Literature and Language:

Cultural politics and the pragmatics of resistance: reflexive discourses on culture and history, Nathan Light

Situating the 12 Muqam: between the Arab world and the Tang court, Rachel Harris;

Uyghur literary representations of Xinjiang realities, Michael Friederich;

Hybrid name culture in Xinjiang: problems surrounding Uyghur name/surname practices and their reform, Asad Sulayman.;

Part III Socio-Cultural Practices:

Situating Uyghur life cycle rituals between China and Central Asia, Ildiko Beller-Hann;

Shrine pilgrimage and sustainable tourism among the Uyghurs: Central Asian ritual traditions in the context of China's development policies, Rahila Dawut;

The emergence of Muslim reformism in contemporary Xinjiang: implications for the Uyghurs' positioning between a Central Asian and Chinese context, Edmund Waite.;

Part IV Negotiation of Multiple and hybrid Uyghur Identities:

Polo, Laghman, So Say: situating Uyghur food between Central Asia and China, M. Cristina Cesaro;

'The dawn of the East': a portrait of a Uyghur community between China and Kazakhstan, Sean R. Roberts;

'Ethnic anomaly' or modern Uyghur survivor? A case study of the Minkaohan hybrid identity in Xinjiang, Joanne Smith Finley;

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