Making Home in Displacement: The Repatriation of Kazakhs from China to Soviet and Post-Soviet Kazakhstan


Luce/ACLS Travel Grants in China Studies




This project explores the transnational history of displacements and return migrations of the qandas (blood relative)—Kazakh repatriate communities from Xinjiang now living in Kazakhstan. It links the long history of various dispossessions and repatriations along the Kazakh-Chinese borders: the flight of 1916, the mass exodus of the 1930s, the return migration between the 1960s and 1990s, and the flow of refugees since 2017. This project is interdisciplinary, building on recent works in history and anthropology. It tracks the dispossession and struggle by the qandas based on archival material, ethnography, memoirs, genealogical narratives, and oral history. This approach helps understand the ongoing struggle of the qandas in Kazakhstan and those who continue to live under mass surveillance in Xinjiang as part of longer processes of violence and displacement.