Rian Thum - Chinese Islams: Real, Invented, and Aspirational
|Dates:||16 November 2021|
|Times:||12:30 - 13:30|
|What is it:||Webinar|
|Organiser:||Manchester China Institute|
Senior Lecturer in East Asian Studies, Rian Thum will be exploring the interpenetration of China and the Muslim World in this online talk.
For different reasons, both scholars and Chinese state authorities have been attracted to the idea of a uniquely Chinese Islam, said to be forged in relative isolation and characterized by a Confucianization of Islamic teachings. The Chinese state has recently enshrined this type of Islam as the only acceptable form, removing “foreign” domes from mosques and placing non-Han Muslims in internment camps. But to what extent has such a separate, “Sinicized”, Islam ever existed?
This talk examines the roots of the Sinicization theory in Anglophone scholarship and scrutinizes its claims through the example of Muslim reading communities in Yunnan at the turn of the 20th century, where the famous “Sinicized” texts circulated alongside Persian and Arabic works of the sort that the Chinese government is attempting to erase today.
Role: Senior Lecturer in East Asian History
Organisation: University of Manchester
Biography: Rian Thum is a specialist in the history and anthropology of Muslims in China at the University of Manchester, where he is a Senior Lecturer. His book, The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History, argues for the central role of sacred sites and local Islamic texts in the maintenance of Uyghur identity. Thum is Associate Editor of the Journal of Asian Studies and a former fellow of the National Humanities Center and the American Council of Learned Societies. In addition to his academic publications, Thum’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, and The Nation. Thum’s current book project, Islamic China, is a re-examination of Chinese Islam that takes full account of the numerous Persian and Arabic sources that Chinese-speaking Muslims have used and written.
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