China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: The dominant mode of state violence against Uyghur and other Turkic people in Xinjiang does not will an end to physical life. Nevertheless, since 2014, it has become clear that while individual Uyghur bodies are generally kept alive, there has been a concerted effort to render conditions of bare life on a population level. Chaired by Joanne Smith Finley, this panel examines the suite of techniques the Chinese party-state employs outside of the prison or camp setting to strip away meaningful cultural and religious practices and a sense of homeland that form the political life of Uyghurs. Darren Byler centers the question of social death by examining the force of state narratives in the domestic and community lives of former detainees. Aynur Kadir studies state vilification and persecution of Uyghur elites as a form of structural violence and dispossession. Lauren Restrepo examines the redesign of pre-CCP Kashgar as an effort to strip the city of its political and symbolic power as a Uyghur metropolis. Finally, Tim Grose details domestic strategies for estranging Uyghurs from the wätän (homeland), as the state introduces new floorplans, furniture, and norms of homemaking in Uyghur residential space. Discussants Sam Tynan and Elise Anderson bring this wide-ranging research into discussion, respectively foregrounding on-the-ground resistance strategies and transnational advocacy efforts that create space for autonomous personal and cultural expression and allow for a vision of Uyghur identity that exists beyond the reach of the Chinese state.
Virtual Paper Presenter: Darren Byler – Simon Fraser University
Virtual Paper Presenter: Aynur Kadir – The University of British Columbia
Virtual Paper Presenter: Lauren F. Restrepo – Bryn Mawr College
Virtual Paper Presenter: Timothy Grose – Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology