Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Music, Haverford College

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2010
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, Columbia University
Reshaping Governance in a Liberalizing China: A Study of the Ethnically Unmarked Chinese Hui Muslims

Though in the international press Chinese Muslims are often represented as Uygurs, a large percentage of Muslims in China are not ethnically marked. My project studies these ethnically unmarked Muslims who are called "Hui" in China. I focus on their history and transforming status, and the ways in which they are reshaping the emergent form of governance in contemporary China, within the context of its increasing marketization and the international discursive positing of "global Islam" as a threat. In contrast to Uygurs, Hui Muslims are thought as both economic catalysts and potential troublemakers. If Uygurs are linguistically and culturally Central Asian and if the Chinese state acts as though their unrest can be appeased by limiting the flow of people and information in a confined region, the stability-seeking Chinese government encounters a serious challenge when facing those Chinese-speaking, culturally-closer-to-Han Hui Muslims who are scattered all over the country and living among the Han majority, much like a "shadow" of the Han. The suspicion and surveillance against these Hui Muslims has increased since 9/11, with the specter of "global Islam" construed as an expanding threat. It has also been intensified in relation to the ambiguous economic status of Hui. It is my hypothesis that an ethnography of the Hui can reveal much about the form of governance now emerging in China, which is neither classically neo-liberal nor socialist. My project studies how this emergent governance is reshaped by the ethnically unmarked Hui Muslims, explores the relations between globalization, capitalization and the circulation of suspicion and fear towards "global Islam" in contemporary China, and asks how Hui Muslims are managing their collective and individual lives in relation to this predicament.