The Traveling Minzu
Uyghur Muslim Migration and the Negotiation of Identities
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Based on the everyday experiences of Uyghur business migrants, this book investigates how individuals embody and deploy minzu, one of the fundamental concepts in political and socioeconomic discourses in China after 1949, and how this concept travels to Australia with the migrants.
Through research on Uyghurs at the Tarim (pseudonym) restaurant in Ürümchi, Uyghur migrants in other major cities in China, and, finally, the immigrants in multicultural Australia, the author explains how they perceive the concept of minzu and how the concept and identity has been reformed and reshaped in specific social and economic contexts. She argues that these Uyghur migrants’ minzu concept is closely intertwined with citizenship, which entails not only a set of legally defined rights and obligations but also a sense of equality and respect. The book provides a new way of reflecting on who the "Chinese" are and what form the "Chineseness" takes in a transnational context. Following the minzu concept in China and Australia, this book shows how cultural intimacy and critical multiculturalism can provide better sociocultural space for various Muslim migrant communities.
This book will appeal to social and cultural anthropologists and university students who are interested in China and Inner Asia, ethnicity, and transnational migration between China and the South Pacific.
Table of Contents
1. Minzu: a Key Concept in Uyghur Migration, 2. Uyghur Restaurants: Social Space and Internal Diversity, 3. Food and Body in China’s Islamophobia, 4. Multiculturalism and State Kinship, 5. Citizenship between China and Australia, 6. Becoming Australian Uyghurs
Mei Ding is an assistant professor at the School of Social Development and Public Policy in Fudan University, China. She is a social anthropologist with research interests in China’s ethnic minorities, including Muslim small and medium businesses. Her current focus is on ethnicity and medical anthropology. Her recent publications includes “Cultural Intimacy in Ethnicity” (Journal of Contemporary China, 2020) and “Security matters in Marriage” (Central Asian Survey, 2018).