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Public Lecture: The Political Economy of Han Xinjiang: Organised Dependency...

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New Law School Lecture Theatre 104

New Law School Building Annex

Eastern Avenue

Camperdown, NSW 2006

Australia

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Social control is the main preoccupation of the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang. Both rhetoric and military force intensified greatly through 2017 and into 2018. The rolling “strike hard” campaigns of the 2000s have given way to a permanent war footing. Securitisation of the terror threat has reached farcical heights and affects every single person living in the region.

What is life like for ordinary Han settlers in Xinjiang—people just trying to “get along”? How does it differ from the rest of China? And what do their lives tell us about the political economies of Xinjiang, and its fraught relationship with the cultural and political core of China?

These questions are key to understanding the mechanisms of unrest and social control in contemporary Xinjiang. Based on more than three years of field research in Xinjiang, Tom Cliff will show that ordinary Han are central political actors in this ongoing tragedy. Economic and civilian relationships are just as important as guns and military power in effecting social control in Xinjiang.

Tom Cliff was working in Xinjiang in July 2009 while researching his recent award-winning book, Oil and Water: Being Han in Xinjiang (Chicago 2016). Cliff observed that the inter-communal violence of summer 2009 undermined Han settlers’ commitment to the central government’s project of “developing Xinjiang,” laying bare the nature of and limits to state power in the region. This talk, with opportunity for public discussion and questions, will offer an in-depth and historically-grounded viewpoint on contemporary Xinjiang.

Speaker

Tom Cliff is an economic anthropologist based at the Australian National University. His book Oil and Water: Being Han in Xinjiang (University of Chicago Press, 2016) won the 2018 E Gene Smith Prize from the Association for Asian Studies for best book on Inner Asia. Tom has a PhD in Asian Studies and is currently investigating informal finance, social stability management, and welfare structures in non-metropolitan China.

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New Law School Lecture Theatre 104

New Law School Building Annex

Eastern Avenue

Camperdown, NSW 2006

Australia

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