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’.
Joanne Smith Finley, Ph.D (Leeds University, 1999) is Lecturer in Chinese Studies at Newcastle University, UK. She previously co-authored an edited volume titled Situating the Uyghurs between China and Central Asia (Ashgate, 2007), and has published a wide range of articles and book chapters on the formation, transformation, hybridisation and globalisation of Uyghur identities in Xinjiang, Northwest China.
This book will interest scholars and students in Chinese Studies, Central Eurasian Studies, Central Asian Studies, Inner Asian Studies, Near and Middle Eastern Studies, Turkic/Turkish Studies and Islamic studies, their institutional libraries, and governmental / non-governmental organisations.