Author: Darren Byler, University of Washington
Source: Central Asian Survey
Over the past two decades, state-directed Han settlement and capitalist development in the Uyghur homeland in Chinese Central Asia have uprooted thousands of Uyghurs, causing them to move to the city. In this article, I explore how low-income male Uyghur migrants and Uyghur culture producers build a durable existence despite these challenges. Based on analysis of migrant responses to the Uyghur-language urban fiction and indigenous music as well as ethnographic observations of Uyghur migrants from Southern Xinjiang, I argue that indigenous knowledge provides underemployed male Uyghurs a means to refuse the alienating effects of settler colonialism and economic development. By broadening the scope of what counts as ‘resistance’ to Chinese attempts to eliminate aspects of Uyghur society, I show that ‘refusal’ can be a generative way of embodying sovereignty, particularly when confronted by structural violence.
- Chinese Construction at the New Frontier: Development, Social Change, and the Government of Uyghur Identity in Urban Xinjiang
- Xodayim buyrisa, guòle liǎng tiān dào nàlǐ shàngbān (“If God wills, after two days I’ll be working there”) Communication needs and ideology in Uyghur-Chinese code switching
- False Alarm: Xinjiang and China’s National Security
- Research Update: Security Matters in Marriage, Song and Dance in China’s Muslim Borderlands, and Uyghur Gathering
- The Plot Behind China’s Suppression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang