Thursday 22nd September: Oil and Water – Xinjiang Han as Political Actors

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Date(s) - Thursday, September 22 2016
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Maya (in clubhouse of Shanghai Grand Plaza apt complex)


The Northwestern region of Xinjiang has been one of the most controversial regions of China for decades. Since inter-ethnic riots in Urumqi in July 2009, further violent clashes involving Muslim Uyghurs, unconfirmed human rights abuses, and high-pitched calls of terrorism from the Chinese state have placed Xinjiang firmly in the spotlight of international media.

 But what is life like for ordinary Han settlers in Xinjiang—people just trying to “get along”? How does it differ from the rest of China? And what do their lives tell us about the political economies of Xinjiang, and its fraught relationship with the cultural and political core of China?

Tom Cliff was living in Xinjiang at the time of the riots, working in a state-owned oil company and researching his new book, Oil and Water: Being Han in Xinjiang. Cliff observed that the July 2009 riots undermined Han settlers’ commitment to the central government’s project of “developing Xinjiang,” laying bare the nature of and limits to state power in the region.

Cliff will address these issues and take questions in his only Shanghai appearance, offering a unique viewpoint on the region.

About the Speaker

Tom Cliff is an economic anthropologist based at the Australian National University, and a Visiting Associate Professor at Hokkaido University, Japan. He is the author of Oil and Water: Being Han in Xinjiang, which was published by Chicago University Press this year.

He has a PhD in Asian Studies and is currently investigating informal finance, social stability management, and welfare structures in non-metropolitan China.

Venue: Maya
568 Julu Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu
Time: Thursday, 22  Sept. 7pm-9pm (doors open at 7pm, event starts at 7:30pm)
Price: 50RMB SFCC members; 150RMB non-members. Price includes two drinks and canapés


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