Karen Blixens Plads 8, 2300 København S, Søndre Campus, Building: 10-3-54
Uyghur historical novels as social commentary
This dissertation is part of the interdisciplinary project "Between homogenization and fragmentation: textual practices as strategies of integration and identity maintenance among the Uyghurs of Xinjiang, China (20th‒21st centuries)” headed by Dr. Ildikó Bellér-Hann.
On the basis of carefully selected examples, this PhD project explores the development of the Uyghur historical novel as a site for the construction of group identity via literary representations of oasis history. Dealing with important episodes of Xinjiang’s pre-socialist history, the novels in question tend to be “factional”: the authors focus on historically verifiable events and prominent figures who feature in collective memory but add numerous details obscured by oral transmission.
Such works are popular because they are widely considered to be authentic representations of local history and because they construct group identity through individual life histories. The project will explore literary tools, topoi, plots, characters, narrative style and other strategies used by the authors to express different levels of collective identity, while perpetuating the Central Asian literary heritage and incorporating other external cultural influences, always within the officially defined boundaries.
This project started on February 2018. My supervisor is Ildikó Bellér-Hann. The project is funded by the Danish Velux Fonden (Velux Foundation).
Who controls the past? History, nationalism and identity in Central Asia (Spring 2018), Central Asia and Afghanistan Studies, ToRS, UCPH
Fields of interest
Central Eurasia (Xinjiang, China; Uzbekistan; Kyrgyzstan)
Intellectual elites, Indigenous knowledge production
Politics of history, Historical novels, Narrative analysis
Muslim minorities, Minority politics