Uyghur Turkic Women and Cultural Change: Young Moslem Women Face the Future

Makofsky, D. (2014) Uyghur Turkic Women and Cultural Change: Young Moslem Women Face the Future. Athens Journal of Humanities & Arts Link

Abstract:

The culture of the Turkic people now extends from the Mediterranean to Western China. The goal of this investigation is to show the importance of anthropological and sociological theory in investigating the profound changes in the world of Central Asia. The first concept is that of cultural identity which has a major impact on the discussion of the Uyghur population of China. The second is locating the discussion of Uyghur women along the important ideal type dimension, the varied range of women from their role in a conservative, patriarchal family structure to that of independent actors in a contemporary urban society. Finally, we understand that young Uyghur women face a different set of choices than those of women in other Moslem cultures or in the rest of China. If they identify with their culture as Uyghur and Moslem, their culture restricts their opportunities as Chinese citizens. As students at Minorities University of China (MUC) in Beijing, the relative freedom of Beijing influences them a great deal. Education and employment are the vehicles for integration into the larger Chinese group. Institutions such as schools of ethnic studies and the college competitive exam (the gaokao) provide opportunities as well as obstacles for Uyghur women, and serve to link Uyghur women to the dynamic aspects of change in the Moslem world.

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