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Life in Shinjang Documented from Public Spaces
The current volume presents a selection of 126 texts in Uyghur posted in public spaces, translated, and annotated for this book. The author started photographing Uyghur texts in 2008 at the time of the Beijing olympics and continued to do so during 2009, the year of the so-called “Urumqi uprising” of July 5. This event generated a stream of texts posted in public spaces that reflected the efforts made by the authorities to re-establish control. In the course of his travels in the years thereafter the author continued to add to the corpus of photographed Uyghur texts. At the same time he started collecting, as comprehensively as possible, various types of folders, brochures, handouts, and product wrappings with texts illustrating aspects of Uyghur culture and society. The texts, published here for the first time, are primary source materials documenting a wide variety of aspects of daily life of the Uyghurs in Shinjang. The implicit messages or explicit references contained in many of these texts give them significance as clues towards an understanding of the existential realities they reflect or illustrate.
Author: Vaia Touna
Taking seriously critiques of historiography produced in recent decades, Vaia Touna advocates for an alternative approach to the way the past is studied. From Euripides’ tragedy Hippolytus, to the notion of voluntary associations in the Greco-Roman world, to the authenticity of traditional villages in Greece, Fabrications of the Greek Past argues that meanings (and thus identities) do not transcend time and space, and neither do they hide deep in the core of material artifacts, awaiting to be discovered by the careful interpreter. Instead, this book demonstrates that meanings are always relative to their present-day context; they are historical products created by social actors through their ever-contemporary acts of identification.



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“By disturbing the notion of an easily knowable Greek past, Touna makes an invaluable contribution to critical scholarship regarding ancient cultures and to contemporary theory about ideological uses of history.”

- Naomi Goldenberg, University of Ottawa



“From an insider to Greek tradition, expert in its modern appropriations and translations, Fabrications is an important stimulus to metatheory and self-reflexivity in the study of religion, ancient and contemporary.”

- Gerhard van den Heever, University of South Africa



“Vaia Touna expertly dissects modern discourses on the past, arguing that our contemporary interests don't just color our accounts of the past, they constitute them. A fantastic book.”

- Brent Nongbri, author of Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept
In: Al-Suyūṭī, a Polymath of the Mamlūk Period
In: Al-Suyūṭī, a Polymath of the Mamlūk Period
In: Al-Suyūṭī, a Polymath of the Mamlūk Period
In: Al-Suyūṭī, a Polymath of the Mamlūk Period
In: Al-Suyūṭī, a Polymath of the Mamlūk Period