China’s Culture Wars: Opening Salvo in Crackdown on Uyghur Intellectuals

Incarceration of Xinjiang's Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples expanded massively beginning in 2017, but the campaign targeting intellectuals specifically dates back to mid-2014.              At the end of Xi Jinping's April visit to Xinjiang, an explosion at the Urumqi train station killed three people and injured nearly 80 others, according to the BBC. Just two months … Continue reading China’s Culture Wars: Opening Salvo in Crackdown on Uyghur Intellectuals

“Backstreets,” the Novel: The Brutal Life of a Uyghur Man in Xinjiang’s Ürümchi

In Xinjiang Has Produced Its James Joyce, Ed Park reviews the first contemporary Uyghur-language novel to appear in English translation, by an author --- Perhat Tursun (پەرھات تۇرسۇن) --- now languishing in the Xinjiang Gulag: If his [the protagonist's] rural Uyghur upbringing was harsh, his life as a Uyghur man in Ürümchi can be downright brutal. Byler’s … Continue reading “Backstreets,” the Novel: The Brutal Life of a Uyghur Man in Xinjiang’s Ürümchi

The Uyghur Experience: Connecting the Dots in September 2022

Three important publications are launching this month, offering insight into what it means to be Uyghur today: On Sep 15, Editions Jentayu (info@editions-jentayu.fr) will launch Littérature Ouïghour, a special issue dedicated to contemporary Uyghur writing in French translation. Authors include Memtimin Hoshur and his visionary short story on problematic mustaches; Perhat Tursun; Helide Isra'il; Gülnisa Erdal; … Continue reading The Uyghur Experience: Connecting the Dots in September 2022

“Manaschi”: Enigmatic Adages in Hamid Ismailov’s new Novel

Just finished Hamid Ismailov's new novel Manaschi, about a conflicted half-Kyrgyz, half-Tajik man who feels increasingly fated to become a reciter of the ancient Kyrgyz epic poem, Manas. It's an oddly compelling tale in which Kyrgyz, Tajiks and Chinese laborers --- newcomers to the village which straddles Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan --- eventually come to blows in ways … Continue reading “Manaschi”: Enigmatic Adages in Hamid Ismailov’s new Novel

Dastan: Ornate Oral History among the Peoples of Central Asia

As I begin to delve into various forms of Altaic story-telling, I am looking for clear and memorable definitions and descriptions. The quotes below are excerpted from H.B. Paksoy's Dastan Genre in Central Asia Ornate Oral History Dastan (jir, ir, chorchok) is ornate oral history, common among the peoples of Central Asia. It conveys the revered … Continue reading Dastan: Ornate Oral History among the Peoples of Central Asia

Rahile Dawut: Defining the Uyghur Meshrep

The following description is excerpted from Uyghur Meshrep Culture and Its Social Function, by Sawut Pawan, Rahile Dawut, and Saadet Kurban, College of Humanities, Xinjiang University. Rahile Dawut, a renowned expert in Uyghur folklore, was disappeared by the Chinese government in 2017 and has not been seen since.  Uyghur Meshrep Culture A Meshrep is a traditional male Uyghur gathering that typically … Continue reading Rahile Dawut: Defining the Uyghur Meshrep

Meshrep Under the Moon has Morphed into Variety Shows under the Klieg Lights

In Historic Uyghur Culture is under Existential Threat, co-authored by Rian Thum and Musapir,  we learn how the traditional meshrep has been transmogrified into a large-scale tourist spectacle rather than a community event:  In Emet’s village of Tashmiliq, a typical meshrep began under the guidance of a local notable. Guests danced to an orchestra of two-stringed lutes, the banjo-like rabap, … Continue reading Meshrep Under the Moon has Morphed into Variety Shows under the Klieg Lights

Multilingual Guide to Related Links: Performers of Turkic Oral Epics & Folk Romances

Turkish Hikâye & Aşık Hikâye: Turkish Folk Romance as Performance Art A list of 20th-century Aşık Based in Turkey  Jusup Mamay 居素普·玛玛依评传 Jusup Mamay, Master Performer of the Kirghiz Manas Epic Jusup Mamay, Manaschi: A Rehabilitated Rightist and his Turkic Epic Live Performance Turkish Folk Singer Ruhi Su on Tour in Australia Turkish Musical Terminology … Continue reading Multilingual Guide to Related Links: Performers of Turkic Oral Epics & Folk Romances

Confessions of a Jade Lord (excerpt): ‘Marry your mother to the villain who killed your father’

(Posted: Feb 2, 2022) This short excerpt from Alat Asem's Confessions of a Jade Lord  (时间悄悄的嘴脸, 阿拉提·阿斯木 著)  intriguingly captures several key aspects of Uyghur culture, modern and ancient. To get his greedy hands on nine hefty chunks of priceless creamy-white, "mutton-fat" jade, Eysa and his gang administer a deadly beating to Xali, a fellow trader. Fearing arrest, Eysa flees … Continue reading Confessions of a Jade Lord (excerpt): ‘Marry your mother to the villain who killed your father’

A list of 20th-century Aşık Based in Turkey

Below is a list of 20th-century Aşık cited by Ilhan Basgöz in his seminal work, Hikâye: Turkish Folk Romance as Performance Art.   Aşık Aziz Aydın Ilhami Demir (1932-87)                 Adem Efkari (1898-1980) Ishak Kemali (1913-77)                   Behçet Mahir Sabit Müdami (1918-68) Ali Izzet Özkan Üzeyir Pünhani (1917-98) Yaşar Reyhani (1930-) Mevlüt Ihsani Şafak (1928-) Davut Sutlari Aşık Sümmani Şerif Taşlıova … Continue reading A list of 20th-century Aşık Based in Turkey