Feudal villains or just rulers? The contestation of historical narratives in eastern Xinjiang

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Focusing on representations of the Muslim dynasty that exercised power locally under the Qing dynasty until 1930 in the oasis of Qumul in eastern Xinjiang, this article challenges the binary notions of ‘official’ versus ‘unofficial’ discourse by looking at the production of historical knowledge on the ground. Versions of local histories are communicated both in censored publications and in informally transmitted oral narratives, which are not independent realms but in constant dialogue with each other. Produced at the interface of the oral and the written, these representations are laden with contradictions and ambiguities, portraying the Muslim dynasty sometimes as feudal exploiters, at other times as models of good governance. It will be shown how historical knowledge is produced at the junctures of the oral and the written, and of official and unofficial discourses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCentral Asian Survey
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)311-325
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2012

ID: 40798973