Situating the Uyghurs Between China and Central Asia

Situating the Uyghurs Between China and Central Asia

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Introduction

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.