Building transregional and historical connections: Uyghur architecture in urban Xinjiang

Kobi, M. (2018). Building transregional and historical connections: Uyghur architecture in urban Xinjiang. Central Asian Survey, 37(2), 208–227. doi:10.1080/02634937.2018.1427555

Abstract

Economic investment and the growing immigration of Han Chinese from other parts of China to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region over the last three decades have increased the presence of eastern Chinese architecture in the urban built environment. This paper refers to the making of, residing in and speaking about the materiality of urban architecture by Turkic-speaking Muslim Uyghur middle-class actors. Besides creating personal comfort through Uyghur elements they draw ethnic boundaries to the Han Chinese. In highlighting the materiality of architecture, the analysis expands beyond the individual house by investigating the ways in which urban architecture offers spaces of meaning for social and ethnic communities. Based on ethnographic data, this paper argues that due to the political context and the statecontrolled urban development with Chinese characteristics, urban Uyghur architecture was relegated from the outside of houses to an emphasis on interior decoration.

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