All posts tagged: Chen Ye

‘Anticolonial friendships’: How should anthropologists learn from Uyghurs in contemporary China?

When I was first starting to research Xinjiang as a graduate student in the late 2000s, I spent a few weeks with a Taiwanese-American anthropologist at Berkeley named Cindy Huang, who was just finishing her doctorate. Cindy, whose parents were born in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province and who still has family there, had lived in Xinjiang for over a year just before the mass violence of 2009. In my conversations with her, and in her dissertation, she described the way Uyghur women welcomed her into their world as a friend and sister. After a year of building a relationship with her, her two closest Uyghur friends, Ayshe and Nurgul, cooked a special dinner for her. She wrote: For more than a year, Ayshe has been searching for a suitable Uyghur name for me. She finally settles on Zuhre, explaining that it is a name with Arabic origins, meaning bright, beautiful star. She shaves down a chopstick, dips it in a jar of ink and writes my new name in elegant script. We feast on rice and stir-fried …