Aynur Kadir

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

British Columbia, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10563

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Kadir, Aynur (British Columbia, U. of) "Safekeeping Culture: Grassroots Preservation as Uyghur Survival"

This project will support the completion of my book, Safekeeping Culture: Grassroots Preservation as Uyghur Survival. The book documents and analyses grassroots efforts among Uyghurs in Xinjiang and beyond to keep safe (saqlash) their storytelling traditions in the context of increasingly repressive Chinese state policies. This project builds on my existing research efforts to bring China Studies into dialogue with Critical Indigenous Studies to: 1) examine how traditional Uyghur knowledge and lifeways are maintained through storytelling traditions; 2) analyze Uyghur grassroots safekeeping practices in the context of ongoing Chinese settler colonialism and cultural oppression, foregrounding the agency of Uyghur Indigenous communities in the protection of their traditions for future generations; and 3) demonstrate how Uyghur grassroots practices of safekeeping can offer new ways to think about cultural preservation, how these operate in extremely oppressive environments, and how these can provide understandings for other Indigenous contexts. It uses Indigenous Research Methodologies and draws on ethnographic data collected in Xinjiang (2008-2016) and the diaspora (2017-2022), as well as auto-ethnography. It demonstrates why people care so much about these traditions, their safekeeping approaches, and what Uyghur preservation practices can offer to scholars, Indigenous communities, policymakers and non-Indigenous publics.