Based on a wide range of Western and local materials, this book offers an introduction to the historical anthropology of the Muslim Uyghur of Xinjiang from the late 19th century to 1949. The author argues that social relations in this era were shaped at all levels by the principles of reciprocity and community. Particular attention is paid to the domestic domain and to life-cycle and religious rituals. This is the first time that Xinjiang has been approached from the perspective of historical
anthropology. Giving substance to the concept of tradition which modern Uyghurs invoke when constructing their collective identity, Bellér-Hann's study also has implications for contemporary analyses of inter-ethnic relations in this sensitive region.
Ildikó Bellér-Hann, Ph.D. (1989) in Turkic Studies, University of Cambridge, is researcher at the Martin-Luther University, Halle/Wittenberg. She has published extensively on the Turkic speaking peoples and cultures of Xinjiang, North-East Turkey and Central Asia.
"...is a pioneering effort in its historical anthropological approach. Her use of early ethnographic and primary accounts of domestic and religious life in Xinjiang reveals the importance of community in Uyghur social relations during the period in question. (...) As such
Community Matters provides a useful historical foundation for further scholarship on contemporary Uyghur affairs."
James D. Frankel, University of Hawai’i at Manoa,
Religious Studies Review, Vol. 37 (2011).
All those interested in the history and culture of the Uyghur, the social history of Xinjiang, Central Asia and China specialists, historical anthropologists, as well as specialists in the Turkic speaking world.