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Workshop: Islam in China

Workshop: Islam in China

A USC-UCLA Joint East Asian Studies Center workshop for teachers of world history, multicultural studies, world religions, and international affairs -- and other interested educators.

By Clayton Dube

Saturday, March 1, 2003

9 am - 3 pm
201 Accounting Building, USC

Recent events have demonstrated the importance of understanding the world of Islam, in all of its diversity and wherever it has taken root to become one of the world's great religions. For those who teach, write, or just think about the issues facing us today, a rudimentary knowledge of Islamic faith and culture has become increasingly essential.

At precisely the moment when Islamic communities throughout the Middle East and Southeast Asia have become the focus of international attention, the world's attention has likewise been drawn to the emergence of China as a great power.

Two great forces moving our times in the 21st century - Islam and China - meet in the communities of China's Muslim "minorities" and across the broad expanses of westernmost China. Here Islamic China emerges as an important indicator of religious, cultural, and political developments in a still dimly-seen future.

This workshop will provide important insights into the historical, cultural, political, and social significance of Chinese Muslims. As we learn more about them, we are confronted by a larger set of questions: What is Islam? What is China? What is a Chinese Minority?

What is Islam in China? A panel of leading authorities on Islam in China join us to talk about the most significant Muslim groups in China, the Hui minorities and in Xinjiang, the Uighurs. They will focus on the cultural distinctiveness and traditions of these communities, while also considering broader themes of porous borders, and the ideas, ideologies, people, goods and wealth that pass through them.

This workshop will contribute to expanding comprehension of Islamic movements not only in China, but throughout the world, while also reminding us of the growing importance of China's role in the world of the 21st century.

Featured Speakers

Jay Dautcher is an assistant professor of Anthropology and Folklore at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of the forthcoming Down a Narrow Road: Uighur Society in Northwest China, which looks at ethnic Uighurs in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

Dru Gladney is professor of Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii. He is interested in nationalism in Asia, minorities and ethnic diversity in China. His latest book is Ethnic Identity in China: the Making of a Muslim Minority Nationality.

Jonathan Lipman is professor of history at Mount Holyoke College and currently visiting fellow at the UC Berkeley Center for Chinese Studies. He is the author of Familiar Strangers: a History of Muslims in Northwest China, and teaches a course entitled "Islam and Muslims in China."

Barbara Pillsbury is a cultural anthropologist specialized in the comparative study of Islam around the world and Muslims in China.  She has lived and taught in Egypt and visited or conducted research in Muslim communities from Africa to East Asia. Her publications include Muslim-Christian Conflict and "Being Female in a Muslim Minority in China."

Richard Baum, director of the UCLA Asia Institute, will serve as moderator.

A registration fee of $15 is payable on-site, and includes a luncheon (Chinese Muslim cuisine and cultural performances) and complimentary parking. To insure availability of parking and food, advance confirmation of attendance is required by email: or phone: (213) 740-2991.

SPECIAL NOTE: Participants in UCLA National Consortium for Teaching about Asia seminars who may attend wtithout charge and should contact Clayton Dube at

Funding for this conference comes from the U.S. Department of Education's Title VI National Resource Center grant to the USC-UCLA Joint East Asian Studies Center.

Asia Institute