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    Making Hui: The minoritisation, performance and place of Islam in contemporary Beijing

    Phelan, Dean (2020) Making Hui: The minoritisation, performance and place of Islam in contemporary Beijing. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    In today's geopolitical climate, when the West's gaze is fixed on radical Islam, the U.S.led “Global War on Terror” is used to control Muslims everywhere. Set in this context, this research examines how the Chinese State co-created the ethnicity and place of the Hui, China's largest Islamic minority group. Attention is focused not upon the production of minoritisation but upon its lived experience, with specific reference to Hui food cultures. These distinctive food cultures provide an analytically useful and empirically accessible route into wider reflections on how Hui perform their identities by constructing, claiming, and negotiating practices, spaces, identities, and subjectivities. Adopting a feminist political geography approach, this project examines how processes of minoritisation and place impact on the identities, experiences and everyday geographies of Beijing’s Hui. Specifically, it explores how Hui identity is performed, made public, othered, negotiated, and contested through its food cultures and associated places. This was done through implementing participant observation, semi-structured interviews and semiological analysis of visual referents. Drawing from twelve-months of fieldwork conducted in Beijing City between 2015 and 2019, it is argued that the Hui’s food cultures and understandings of Qingzhen, or “pure and true”, are central to individual and group identities for Beijing-based Hui. These identities are publicly performed and manifested spatially in places of Hui food culture. Through analysing these places and their meanings for participants, an empirically-driven conceptualisation of place is presented which I have termed Qinqie places. Analysis of Hui identity performances exposes the place-specific and gendered nature of minoritising processes, while simultaneously demonstrating the usefulness of a focus upon food cultures. Ultimately, this thesis demonstrates the usefulness of a feminist political geographical approach and epistemology when researching geopolitics in a Chinese context.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Making Hui; minoritisation; performance; place; Islam; contemporary; Beijing;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Item ID: 13539
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2020 11:18
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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