The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of northwest China, where the authors of this book have worked since 1986, has become increasingly unstable in recent decades. The Uyghurs are the easternmost people of the Turkic-Islamic civilizational belt that stretches across Central Eurasia. The incorporation of this population into the Chinese nation state has been fraught with difficulty. Central policies under socialism have fluctuated between generous encouragement of a distinct Uyghur identity and harsh repression justified with accusations of separatism and religious fundamentalism. Based on field research in the prefecture of Qumul in 2006-2009, this book explores how macro-level tensions are played out locally and regionally in the fields of actualized history and identity, social support and economic development, and the political regulation of socio-cultural life and religion.
Ildikó Bellér-Hann is an Associate Professor in Turkish Studies at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen, where she teaches Central Asian Studies and Turkish. She is the author of Community Matters in Xinjiang, 1880-1949: Towards a Historical Anthropology of the Uyghur (Brill, 2008), and Negotiating Identities: Work, Religion, Gender, and the Mobilization of Tradition Among the Uyghur in the 1990s (LIT, 2015).
Chris Hann is a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/ Saale, and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He is the author of Repatriating Polanyi. Market Economy in the Visegrád States (Central European University Press, 2019).