A Look Inside the Heterogeneous World of Women in Northwestern China

By Elena Caprioni.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A careful observer traveling through the cities of Xinjiang would not fail to notice men wearing a sort of white skullcap, women’s faces covered with a brown veil, crescents in-between Mao portraits, and cupolas and Islamic symbols jutting out among traditional Chinese architecture. This is the image of an area between the so-called Celestial Empire and the Red Crescent, between a world governed by the Chinese Communist Party and the Muslim world of the Central Asia. Describing the heterogeneous world of the women of this region is the main objective of this study. It intends to identify the theories and practices regarding women and gender, accompanied by an overview on the material conditions of women throughout the different periods of Xinjiang history. This mainly ethnographic, although partly linguistic, approach demonstrates how the current status of women is directly linked to local values and/or to Islam and/or to Han.

Keywords: Uyghur, Women, Identity, Islam, Gender

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.149-160. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 689.766KB).

Dr. Elena Caprioni

PhD Student, Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Cagliari, Giulianova, Italy

She obtained MA Honours in Foreign Literatures and Languages (Chinese and English) at the University of Rome (Italy) in 2003, focusing her thesis on the relations among China, Xinjiang and Central Asia after 1991. She enrolled in a PhD program in History and International Relations at the University of Cagliari (Italy) in the fall of 2005. Elena’s research explores the mechanism by which China has attempted to incorporate the territory of Xinjiang and the non-Han people of the region into the “unitary, multi- ethnic” People’s Republic of China.


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