Rian Thum F'17

Rian  Thum
Senior Research Fellow
University of Nottingham, UK

ACLS Fellowship Program 2017
Associate Professor
Loyola University New Orleans
Islamic China

This project undertakes a radical reevaluation of the history of Islam in China, focused on the last four centuries. It does so by breaking with most scholarship on the subject in two ways. First, it makes greater use of the rich body of Persian and Arabic sources consumed by Chinese Muslims, rather than mainly or exclusively utilizing Chinese-language sources, and, second, it rejects the assumption that Chinese Islams are necessarily syncretic blends of two inherently incompatible and essential cultural units. This approach reveals a very different kind of Islamic China, one closely connected to the rest of the Islamic world through India, the Hijaz, and Central Asia, both consuming and creating texts embedded in cosmopolitan Islamic networks. It argues, moreover, that Islam needs to be considered as an integral part of China’s history.