For Mongols, sharing food is more than just eating meals. Through a process of “opening” and “closing”, on a daily basis or at events, in the family circle or with visitors, sharing food guarantees the proper order of social relations. It also ensures the course of the seasons and the cycle of human life. Through food sharing, humans thus invite happiness to their families and herds. Sandrine Ruhlmann has lived long months, since 2000, in the Mongolian steppe and in the city. She describes and analyzes in detail the contemporary food system and recognizes intertwined ideas and values inherited from shamanism, Buddhism and communist ideology. Through meat-on-the-bone, creamy milk skin, dumplings or sole-shaped cakes, she highlights a whole way of thinking and living.
Uyghur Identities and Uyghur-Han Relations in Contemporary Xinjiang
Joanne N. Smith Finley
Against the background of the Ürümchi riots (July 2009), this book provides a longitudinal study of contemporary Uyghur identities and Uyghur-Han relations. Previous studies considered China’s Uyghurs from the perspective of the majority Han (state or people). Conversely, The Art of Symbolic Resistance considers Uyghur identities from a local perspective, based on interviews conducted with group members over nearly twenty years. Smith Finley rejects assertions that the Uyghur ethnic group is a ‘creation of the Chinese state’, suggesting that contemporary Uyghur identities involve a complex interplay between long-standing intra-group socio-cultural commonalities and a more recently evolved sense of common enmity towards the Han. This book advances the discipline in three senses: from a focus on sporadic violent opposition to one on everyday symbolic resistance; from state to ‘local’ representations; and from a conceptualisation of Uyghurs as ‘victim’ to one of ‘creative agent’.