Eric T. Schluessel
- Doctoral Candidate
- Harvard University
The Muslim Emperor of China: Legal Cultures and Ritual Regimes in Reconstruction Xinjiang, 1877 to 1933
This dissertation argues that Chinese and Uyghurs in the late Qing and early Republic developed a common set of institutions and cultural vocabulary for the articulation of power and authority. I challenge the “clash of civilizations” narrative of interethnic relations in Xinjiang by demonstrating, on the basis of mostly Chinese- and Uyghur-language manuscript sources, that the deployment of multiple models of law and local government helped to engender the entrenchment of both Chinese and Muslim elites in local society and, as a result, the emergence of a hybrid cultural nexus of power. I explore how both groups used each other’s legal and religious institutions and advance a refined model of brokerage and the localization of imperial power in the Chinese context.
Towards a Scholarly Edition of the Tarikh-i Hamidi, a Chaghatay Chronicle of Modern Xinjiang
Mulla Musa Sayrami's 1908 Tarikh-i Hamidi is the richest and most significant Uyghur source for the history of Xinjiang in the nineteenth century. While Sayrami has been praised as a careful historian himself, and the work has great evidentiary value, a closer reading of the text reveals it to be a strange, polyphonous, transcultural text reflecting Turkic Muslims' struggle to situate themselves in a rapidly changing empire. Sayrami draws on Islamic sacred history and local oral culture to explain Chinese power in a periapocalyptic new age. The text is open to multiple readings, including postcolonial, Islamicate, and Sinocentric. Ultimately, we plan to produce an edition of the Tarikh-i Hamidi to bring this text to a broader audience.