(This event is organised by MEI’s Arabia-Asia Research Cluster, as part of its monthly seminar series.)
While Chinese Muslims (Hui) have largely been studied in the context of fixed places within Chinese empires or nation-states, mobility and networks in both physical and imaginative sense have defined histories and historical conceptions of diverse Chinese Muslim communities since the very start of Islam in (Tang) China. My fieldwork and archival diggings have therefore been necessarily multi-sited, as I followed routes and arrived at destinations between Saudi Arabia, China and Taiwan for my research on the construction of trans-local and trans-regional social spaces by Chinese Muslim diasporas since the late nineteenth century to the present. Bringing together dispersed sites such as Mecca, the little Meccas of Linxia and Shadian, and commercial and political capitals such as Shanghai, Beijing and Taipei may seem jarring to the outsider, but familiar to those who have interwoven and dwelt in them through conscious and anxious sociopolitical investments. Based on the preliminary paper on Chinese Muslim sojourners, settlers and exiles in the Hejaz region over the course of the twentieth century, the talk presents data and observations from my multiple field sites, and the possibility of extracting notions of solidarity from the cultural nexus that Chinese Muslims in my project built in the age of nationalism.
About the Speaker
Hyeju Jeong is a Ph.D Candidate at Duke University History Department. Her dissertation explores ways through which Chinese Muslim communal leaders dispersed in between Shanghai, Taipei and Mecca directed flows of endowments and re-configured transmitted historiographical narratives to build trans-local networks between China/Taiwan and Arabia throughout the twentieth century, combining different strands of internationalisms and religious doctrines to their benefit. The study thus aims to bring together religion, politics, and socio-cultural constellations within a strand of overlapping diasporas, to shed a historical light on the critical mediators of Sino-Arabian/Islamic relations. MMsJeong is currently affiliated with the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh for her field research in Jeddah.