The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China is home to some 12 million indigenous Turkic speaking Muslims, primarily Uyghurs but also smaller numbers of Kazakhs and others. It is now one of the most heavily policed areas in the world. Inhabitants are controlled and monitored to an extraordinary degree and detained in extraordinary numbers. These extreme policies are justified by the claim that China is fighting Islamic radicalisation and extremism.
If you are reading this blog in your office or at home, look around you. It is probable that you are surrounded by a myriad of objects of everyday use imported from China, even if the production process of the products themselves has been completed outside of China: pens, ink, memory sticks, mouse pads, brush and dustpan, safety pins, spoons, handbag, umbrella, the foil paper in your kitchen, your socks, your clothes’ buttons, zipper or bra’s underwire – and the list goes on. How were these items sourced? Who was responsible from bringing them to the shop where you finally purchased them? What type of exchanges, transactions, mobilities and circulations of people, knowledge, money, value, goods, ideas and emotions have been implicated in the trajectories of such goods? Continue reading Yiwu and Transnational Traders: Intersections along Eurasia, Central, South and West Asia, by Diana Ibañez Tirado (University of Sussex)
Broader Lessons to Be Learned
A recent Foreign Policy op-ed by Whitney Kassel on the Xinjiang conflict represents an excellent example of the conceptual divide between the academic and policy-security communities. Continue reading The Xinjiang Conflict, Western Response, & Lessons for Academics and Policy Makers – Part II
In a private English lesson in a classroom in Urumqi, a young Han Chinese girl and I were discussing American TV. A lull in the conversation led to a pause, and she hesitated. A furtive look came across her face as she checked her surroundings for eavesdroppers. “You know…I hate Uighur people”, she said.< Continue reading The Xinjiang Conflict, Western Response, & Lessons for Academics and Policy Makers – Part I
Several months ago I asked Scott Levi how he managed to squeeze in two thousand years of Central Asian history into a single introductory class. More recently, I continued the conversation with Jim Millward to learn about his own undergraduate and graduate courses of similar chronological and thematic scope. Continue reading Perso-Helleno-Indo-Scythian-Sino Eurasia: Jim Millward’s Take on the Central Eurasian Survey Course