In the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (People’s Republic of China), history is taught according to Chinese nationalistic guidelines and the history of ethnic groups is built around their relationships with the Han majority. In this context of historical hegemony, the paper examines a series of books for Uyghur children on famous historical characters in order to understand how young generations’ ethnic consciousness can be shaped. The analysis identifies some trends of the Uyghur ethnic discourse transmitted to children (connections with the history of Central Asia and the Middle East, the focus on elements of identification such as Islam and muqams), as well as the presence of a Chinese paradigm that supports progress, secular education, and the standardization of folklore. Furthermore, the article aims to identify how much leeway is given to the development of a counter-discourse, particularly in the transmission of historical and cultural heritage to the younger generations.
During the last few decades, Muslim communities in China have experienced a religious revival in which belonging to a global Muslim community has been a central element. At the same time, in recent years, the State’s campaign of Sinicization of Islam (yisilan zhongguohua) has supported Chinese nationalism and targeted symbols of Islam that are alleged to distance the believers from patriotism.
This study explores the capacity for texts, language, and visual choices to build and shape sociality and forms of devotion and to reflect social and political changes.
The research examines visual posting on the multipurpose app Weixin (WeChat), providing insights into local forms of religiousness, self-representation, and aspirational identities of part of the Muslim community in Xining (Qinghai province, Northwest China).