All posts tagged: Literature

How is Abdukerim Rahman surviving without his books?

For decades there was an inside joke that was told by generations of Uyghur students in the School of Humanities at Xinjiang University. The joke went: “How can you be a doctoral advisor without having a Ph.D. degree?” In response they would say, “Work as hard as Abdukerim Rahman!”  Mr. Rahman is a legendary figure among students and faculty not only for his knowledge but also his humble and caring attitude toward his students. Students know that if a Uyghur language book had been published, it could be found in his home library. Everyone knows that even those books that are not available in the university library can be found there. Mr. Rahman is known for his passionate scholarship, for his love of book. But most importantly students recognize him as the father of Uyghur folklore studies. His humor, inspiration, and positive feedback always encourages their young souls. All folklorists, anthropologists or Uyghur literature researchers who are interested in Uyghur culture view him as an essential resource. His scholarship has become the critical texts in …

Wang Meng, Chinese Literary Giant, Uyghur Speaker

   By all standards Wang Meng (1934- ) has had a tremendously successful career. Easing out of his problematic role as Cultural Minister in 1989, Wang was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1994 by the Chinese Literary Society. He has published more than 100 books and was listed as the 24th most commercially successful writer in China in 2010 with a net worth of 1.75 million yuan. This past year a village on the border of Kazakhstan opened a museum in his honor. Unlike other contemporary Han intellectuals who have been exiled to Chinese Central Asia, Wang spent most of his life in Xinjiang living with Uyghurs in Ghulja (Yining) on the border of Kazakhstan. He wrote numerous books about his experiences with Uyghurs which addressed the way he came to appreciate Xinjiang culture and learn Uyghur language. Relative to Ai Qing (who I wrote about last week), Wang was able to transform his exile into the Central Asian landscape into a tremendously productive career. By utilizing an ethnographer’s curiosity, Wang was able to …