chapter  14
22 Pages

Contested Histories

Chapters 2 and 3 narrate the history of the region known today as Xinjiang. This chapter will analyze what became of that history in the hands of official Chinese historians, on the one hand, and Uyghur nationalist historians on the other. The party-state has long relied on official histories to justify its political and military control over Xinjiang, vindicate Han immigration there, and inspire confidence in its economic policies. Since the early 1990s, texts on Xinjiang history have been studied by students from middle school through the university. Conversely, Uyghur nationalist histories have provided a charter for Uyghur identity, underscored the centrality of Islam in Uyghur life, and offered Uyghurs both precedent and warrant for their resistance to Chinese rule.