“Green-Colored Uyghur Poet”: Religion, Nostalgia, and Identity in Contemporary Uyghur Poetry

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Abstract

There is wide consensus that Islam is an important rallying point for the Uyghurs and an essential component of their national identity. Yet despite its centrality in Uyghur culture, there is only marginal reference to religion in modern Uyghur poetry. In this article, I argue that poets such as Adil Tuniyaz, Tahir Hamut Izgil, and others, most of whom are secular and urban, choose to relate to religion through mysticism and nostalgia in reaction to the Chinese state’s characterization of Islam as identified with violent fundamentalism and terrorism. By avoiding the use of separatist symbols, these poets contribute to a broad national ethos that strengthens contemporary Uyghur identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)846-877
Number of pages32
JournalModern China
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s).

Keywords

  • China
  • Islam
  • Uyghur
  • Xinjiang
  • poetry

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