Cultural performance is an important part of the social fabric of Chinese Central Asia. Uyghur, Han and Kazakh artists and viewers use cultural performances as ways of embodying social positions at the margins of the nation. The underlying theme of this section of the site is to examine the way minorities and Han settlers perform gender, ethnicity and the politics of class in contemporary Northwest China. We assume that gendered, ethnic, and urban identities are acts, or identifications, that must be rehearsed through the “forcible citation of a norm” (Judith Butler 1993: 232). Yet although Chinese minority actors cannot chose the roles in which they find themselves, they still find agency in how they respond to the givenness of their ethnic positions through comedy, music, dance, sports, religious rituals and historical representations. As these pieces attempt to make clear, minorities and Han settlers, both young and old, are sometimes able to evoke celebrity personae that selectively transcend, obfuscate, and legitimize their place in Xinjiiang society.

Music  Celebrity Children Sports Comedy

Judith Butler. Bodies that matter. New York and London: Routledge (1993).