PDA

View Full Version : Questions about Uyghur and Uyghur-American Culture



Unregistered
14-04-17, 11:37
Hello - I'm a college student hoping to better understand other cultures, and I've been particularly intrigued and disheartened at the lack of available information on Uyghur culture.

Could any of you point me to credible/accurate sources on Uyghur culture in Xinjiang and also stories about Uyghur lifestyle in the United States? One of my topics of study in college is culture shock and cultural assimilation, and though I understand that in the East Asian-American sense, as a Korean-American, I suspect that the Uyghur-American experience is greatly different.

I apologize if I'm being intrusive or rude. Please let me know if that's the case.

Unregistered
14-04-17, 18:24
You may contact UAA office. They have contact info on this website. If you can formulate some specific questions and leave your email address here, i could forward it to people who could provide relevant perspective if i can't provide answer myself. Good luck with your studies.



Hello - I'm a college student hoping to better understand other cultures, and I've been particularly intrigued and disheartened at the lack of available information on Uyghur culture.

Could any of you point me to credible/accurate sources on Uyghur culture in Xinjiang and also stories about Uyghur lifestyle in the United States? One of my topics of study in college is culture shock and cultural assimilation, and though I understand that in the East Asian-American sense, as a Korean-American, I suspect that the Uyghur-American experience is greatly different.

I apologize if I'm being intrusive or rude. Please let me know if that's the case.

Original Poster
14-04-17, 23:51
Thank you very much for your advice! I will be certain to contact the UAA. As for specific questions...

The texts that I have available to me primarily discuss the history and sociopolitical issues surrounding the Uyghur people, particularly in the context of modern injustices against them. However, I am having difficulty finding sources on a more personal level - values and shared experiences within the culture, familial structure. I'm bad at being specific, but I'm hoping to learn more on:

What would you consider core values of the Uyghur culture? I understand that this is a vague question, and I am prepared for an equally vague answer, ahaha.

What are interfamilial relations like in Uyghur culture? Is there a strong bond with extended family and in-laws? How do sociocultural expectations differ based on sibling order? Is there focus on respecting those older than you? And this one's just from a linguistic interest - in the Uyghur language, can younger siblings call their older siblings by name or is there a term such as 'older sister' or 'older brother' that they need to use or add instead?

Further, how does the Uyghur-American experience differ from that of Uyghur experience in Xinjiang? I understand that this is a broad question and that individual experiences vary, and I would be approaching responses with that in mind. I am interested to know in terms of lifestyle and connection to Uyghur culture.

For example, in the Korean diaspora, there was an unfortunate phenomenon in which Korean parents in America decided that their children needed to learn English first and foremost. As a result, there are a great number of Korean-Americans who are unable to speak Korean. Does the Uyghur-American experience have a similar phenomenon, or are most second and third generation Uyghurs bilingual in Uyghur and English?

Do Uyghur-Americans keep their Uyghur names, or do they take Americanized names in addition or in the stead of their Uyghur names? I understand that this may differ from case to case.

Does the Uyghur community interact with the larger Muslim-American community in America, and do they identify as Muslim-American or do they maintain a distinction?

Which holidays are still celebrated, and how are they celebrated in the United States compared to other places?

Just in general, I would like to know more about what it's like to be Uyghur and or Uyghur-American on more personable level, rather than reading sources describing a whole group of people with statistics and sweeping statements. I would like to know what I would learn by getting to know someone of Uyghur heritage, which is an opportunity I have yet to have.

If it would be easier to explain Uyghur culture through means of compare-and-contrast, I have an understanding of American, Korean, and to some degree Muslim-American culture. Through Korean culture, I have some understanding of Confucianism, if it would help to compare-and-contrast using China's Confucian values. In particular, it would interest me to learn about Uyghur values and concepts that do not translate easily into an American context.

Lastly, and this is more of a personal interest question: Are there any strong thoughts in the Uyghur-American community regarding Uyghur and or Muslim representation in fiction? Is there any Uyghur representation in American fiction? Is lack of Uyghur representation in American fiction a subject of concern for the community, or are other matters considered more pressing in present date?

I apologize if I was still too vague. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer.
If you would rather email, please contact me at sjsung@brandeis.edu

Thank you!

Original Poster
15-04-17, 14:27
Does the Uyghur community interact with the larger Muslim-American community in America, and do they identify as Muslim-American or do they maintain a distinction?

If it would be easier to explain Uyghur culture through means of compare-and-contrast, I have an understanding of American, Korean, and to some degree Muslim-American culture. Through Korean culture, I have some understanding of Confucianism, if it would help to compare-and-contrast using China's Confucian values. In particular, it would interest me to learn about Uyghur values and concepts that do not translate easily into an American context.

I only just realized I wrote Muslim-American when I meant American Muslim. Please let me know if neither of those were the term I was looking for.

Uyghur guy
15-04-17, 17:46
It is difficult to define the core values of uyghur culture in a few sentences. Any cultural values are deeply rooted in history. Uyghurs have a long and proud history. The Chinese people claim one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Uyghurs think their history is no less than theirs. In fact, recent archeological finds proved that at least 2 of the 4 ancient inventions the Chinese claim were in fact transfered from our region to China. For example, paper was in use in Xinjiang centuries before it was used in China. When China made first contact with our region in 138 BC through chinese envoy zhang qian, he described fairly advanced urban civilizations in our region. China not only imported Buddaism through our region, it also imported other things like music. Several musical instruments used in Chinese courts were brought back from our region by Chinese envoys. In short, culture flown in one direction--from west to east. China emphasize our monglia roots for political purposes. In official narative uyghurs lived in mongolia before 840 ad and moved into xinjiang after their empire in northen steppes were destroyed by Kyrgiz nomadic tribes. That fits their message to domestic audiences that uyghurs were immigrants to the region just like the Chinese today albeit they moved there 1100 years before the Chinese, who first came to our region in 1876 to form a buffer zone against the British in india and Russians approaching from central asia. In truth, like any ethnic group in world, our history was a dynamic one, never a single enthnic group never mingled with others. Uyghur empire was a coalition of many different tribes. Their homeland included northen xinjiang and part of eastern xinjiang. They had long recorded history close alliance with the settled caucation populations in tarim basin, which is sothern xinjiang. The uyghur empire provided military protection for the city states in tarim basen. In return, the settled peoples taught them religion, writing and farming. As a result, uyghurs were the first nomads to settle down in monglian steppes. They adopted writing much earlier than others in the region. And developed a sofisticated governing system that was adopted ghengiz khan when he became world ruler. He employed many uyghurs in his court as advisors and adopted uyghur alphabet, which is still used by the mongols as their national alphabet. When uyghur empire was destroyed in 840 ad, some of their population moved from northen xinjiang an mongolia to sothern xinjiang around tarim basin and eastern xinjing in turpan. They were peacefully merged with the indigenous populations in that region to forge a new people who adopted the cultures both the indigenous people and immigrants from the northen Xinjiang. They became the ancesters of modern uyghurs. The ethnic name "uyghur" disappeared after 840 d, but reapplied to the tarim basein population again in 1924 as part of the soviet plan to give different label to turking speaking populations in central asia to forge different identities as their divide and conquer scheme. Uyghurs embrace the original tarim basin peoples as their ancesters. In recent years many ancient graves excavated, perfectly preserved mummies and household and farming tools were excavated from tombs 2000-5000 years old. Some of those tools are still being used today by Uyghurs. 3000 years old nans ( bread) looks exactly the same as the ones made today, the tools and wood vessel they used to make dough are still the same today. The wool boots some of the 3000 years old mummies wore were used by uyghurs until 90s when leather boots and shoes became widely available.
Uyghurs have their unique traditional medicine which is still highly respected both by Uyghurs and Chinese alike. Uyghurs have a unique cuisine that taking China and Central Asia by storm. Uyghurs restaurants are everywhere in big Chinese cities these days and they were popular. But, unfortunately, most of them were opened and operated by ethnic Chinese, because it is much easier for them to get permit and loan to open restaurants than uyghurs. In short, uyghurs think they have a culture and history as deep rooted and rich as the Chinese.
Another important factor is our identity and culture was forged and evolved separately from the chinese. That is why we have nothing in common with them. We have different language, cuture, cuisines, farming tools, clothes than the Chinese. Because our land is separated from the chinese hearland by an unforgiving deserts that 500 miles acroos. It was next to impossible to travel across in anciet times. Only the modern transportation made it possible for chinese people to travel to our region in significant numbers. Before 1949, there were less than 5% chinese in Xinjiang, most of them soldiers and government employees. But, china claims our region has been an inseparable part of china since the ancient times. Of course, any person with rudimentary knowledge of chinese or uyghur history knows that China has always been behind the great wall, not outside like xinjiang. In fact they built it to protect their lands from nomadic people including our partial ancesters. It was the amother nomads-- manchus who brought China to Xinjiang in 1876 and officially annexing it to its vast manchu empire in 1884.
We belive the manchu occupation our our land was illegal, it was colonialism and should've ended along with other colonial rules in the world. But, the world decided it is not colonialism unless you were occupied by European powers.

I'll andwer other questions later.



Thank you very much for your advice! I will be certain to contact the UAA. As for specific questions...

The texts that I have available to me primarily discuss the history and sociopolitical issues surrounding the Uyghur people, particularly in the context of modern injustices against them. However, I am having difficulty finding sources on a more personal level - values and shared experiences within the culture, familial structure. I'm bad at being specific, but I'm hoping to learn more on:

What would you consider core values of the Uyghur culture? I understand that this is a vague question, and I am prepared for an equally vague answer, ahaha.

What are interfamilial relations like in Uyghur culture? Is there a strong bond with extended family and in-laws? How do sociocultural expectations differ based on sibling order? Is there focus on respecting those older than you? And this one's just from a linguistic interest - in the Uyghur language, can younger siblings call their older siblings by name or is there a term such as 'older sister' or 'older brother' that they need to use or add instead?

Further, how does the Uyghur-American experience differ from that of Uyghur experience in Xinjiang? I understand that this is a broad question and that individual experiences vary, and I would be approaching responses with that in mind. I am interested to know in terms of lifestyle and connection to Uyghur culture.

For example, in the Korean diaspora, there was an unfortunate phenomenon in which Korean parents in America decided that their children needed to learn English first and foremost. As a result, there are a great number of Korean-Americans who are unable to speak Korean. Does the Uyghur-American experience have a similar phenomenon, or are most second and third generation Uyghurs bilingual in Uyghur and English?

Do Uyghur-Americans keep their Uyghur names, or do they take Americanized names in addition or in the stead of their Uyghur names? I understand that this may differ from case to case.

Does the Uyghur community interact with the larger Muslim-American community in America, and do they identify as Muslim-American or do they maintain a distinction?

Which holidays are still celebrated, and how are they celebrated in the United States compared to other places?

Just in general, I would like to know more about what it's like to be Uyghur and or Uyghur-American on more personable level, rather than reading sources describing a whole group of people with statistics and sweeping statements. I would like to know what I would learn by getting to know someone of Uyghur heritage, which is an opportunity I have yet to have.

If it would be easier to explain Uyghur culture through means of compare-and-contrast, I have an understanding of American, Korean, and to some degree Muslim-American culture. Through Korean culture, I have some understanding of Confucianism, if it would help to compare-and-contrast using China's Confucian values. In particular, it would interest me to learn about Uyghur values and concepts that do not translate easily into an American context.

Lastly, and this is more of a personal interest question: Are there any strong thoughts in the Uyghur-American community regarding Uyghur and or Muslim representation in fiction? Is there any Uyghur representation in American fiction? Is lack of Uyghur representation in American fiction a subject of concern for the community, or are other matters considered more pressing in present date?

I apologize if I was still too vague. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer.
If you would rather email, please contact me at sjsung@brandeis.edu

Thank you!

Unregistered
17-04-17, 06:02
very good questions asked and I would love to know how these question answered.

Uyghur guy
20-04-17, 20:13
in my understanding interfamilial relations in uyghur culture is quite similar to korean and other eastern cultures. Strong family ties, younger siblings are expected to respect older ones, older ones expected to protect younger ones. Yes, there are special words for older and younger brothers and sisters. For example, "Aka" refers older brother, "acha" refer to okder sister.
Uyghur experience in us is very different than what they experience in China. You feel law applies to you and others equally and as long as you live by the law, you will be clear of trouble in US. But that is not case in China. Uyghurs feels like it is a lawless land, authorities make rules as they please at any time and whatever they or any person in poer say at any time can decide your fate. Often times, even an ordinary Ethnic Chinese can grt you into trouble at will, because they are regarded as law-abiding citizens and uyghurs are regarded as outsiders who doesn't like china. The chinese Law serves to protect the ethnic chinese but not Uyghurs.

Before answering your questions about Uyghur Americans, i have to tell you who they are. Before 1990, there were less than 10 families in entire country, by 2000, there were about 150 uyghurs including kids. Some came as graduate students, some came as refugees through third countries. Today the number grew to 1200-1500. As a young community, they are more Uyghur than American. Uyghurs with sufficient English language skill are still a minority. As such, economic ability of the community is very limited. There is no third generation to speak of. The second generation just started to enter adulthood. Basically, the whole community is predominantly first generation immigrants. Kids born here mainly speak english, but most parents try to teach them basic uyghur.


Thank you very much for your advice! I will be certain to contact the UAA. As for specific questions...

The texts that I have available to me primarily discuss the history and sociopolitical issues surrounding the Uyghur people, particularly in the context of modern injustices against them. However, I am having difficulty finding sources on a more personal level - values and shared experiences within the culture, familial structure. I'm bad at being specific, but I'm hoping to learn more on:

What would you consider core values of the Uyghur culture? I understand that this is a vague question, and I am prepared for an equally vague answer, ahaha.

What are interfamilial relations like in Uyghur culture? Is there a strong bond with extended family and in-laws? How do sociocultural expectations differ based on sibling order? Is there focus on respecting those older than you? And this one's just from a linguistic interest - in the Uyghur language, can younger siblings call their older siblings by name or is there a term such as 'older sister' or 'older brother' that they need to use or add instead?

Further, how does the Uyghur-American experience differ from that of Uyghur experience in Xinjiang? I understand that this is a broad question and that individual experiences vary, and I would be approaching responses with that in mind. I am interested to know in terms of lifestyle and connection to Uyghur culture.

For example, in the Korean diaspora, there was an unfortunate phenomenon in which Korean parents in America decided that their children needed to learn English first and foremost. As a result, there are a great number of Korean-Americans who are unable to speak Korean. Does the Uyghur-American experience have a similar phenomenon, or are most second and third generation Uyghurs bilingual in Uyghur and English?

Do Uyghur-Americans keep their Uyghur names, or do they take Americanized names in addition or in the stead of their Uyghur names? I understand that this may differ from case to case.

Does the Uyghur community interact with the larger Muslim-American community in America, and do they identify as Muslim-American or do they maintain a distinction?

Which holidays are still celebrated, and how are they celebrated in the United States compared to other places?

Just in general, I would like to know more about what it's like to be Uyghur and or Uyghur-American on more personable level, rather than reading sources describing a whole group of people with statistics and sweeping statements. I would like to know what I would learn by getting to know someone of Uyghur heritage, which is an opportunity I have yet to have.

If it would be easier to explain Uyghur culture through means of compare-and-contrast, I have an understanding of American, Korean, and to some degree Muslim-American culture. Through Korean culture, I have some understanding of Confucianism, if it would help to compare-and-contrast using China's Confucian values. In particular, it would interest me to learn about Uyghur values and concepts that do not translate easily into an American context.

Lastly, and this is more of a personal interest question: Are there any strong thoughts in the Uyghur-American community regarding Uyghur and or Muslim representation in fiction? Is there any Uyghur representation in American fiction? Is lack of Uyghur representation in American fiction a subject of concern for the community, or are other matters considered more pressing in present date?

I apologize if I was still too vague. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer.
If you would rather email, please contact me at sjsung@brandeis.edu

Thank you!

Uyghur guy
20-04-17, 21:09
Uyghurs in general keep their own name and give uyghur names to kids born here. Most uyghurs in US are not very religiou. Very few follow the strict religious rules such as praying 5 times a day or fasting during Ramadan. As such, there is very little if any interaction with other muslims except the few more religious uyghurs who may have more interactions with other Muslims. Uyghurs celebrate el adha which we call qurban heyt and the end of ramadan, because they have important cultural significance for us. Back home, first thing you do on the first day of those holidays is to pay visit to the graves of passed loved ones. And then spend the rest of day with your family. Second day you visit or accept visit from your close relatives and friends to reaffirm you ties. Third day you visit or be visited by your neighbors, colleagues and acquaintances. Those are the times you expected to forgive and forgiven if you had any problems with any one in your circles. They are religious holidays by origin, but often times alcohol is served when friends visit, at least in the cities. In US, we try to celebrate these holidays as we used to back home, but it is not quite possible. For the starter, we can't visit the tombs of our parents other loved ones. Often times uyghur families live in places where there are no other uyghurs. So, it is not convenient to have a holiday spirit under these circumstances. We could call families and friend back home, but our friends do not accept our calls, because the authorities give them hard time if they talk to any one outside. After the new governor of region came into power last year, he made it even harder for us to keep coomunication with our families back home. Now even our relatives do not want us to call them because the government harassment. We are very carefull not to say anything sensitive during phone calls because of the consequences. Just usual stuff like "how are you? How are your kid doing" etc. Still, just talking to us became a crime. For example, my sister in law was recently detained for 3 weeks because he accepted my call and talked with me just for 30 seconds. I found out about it other day when i was talking to a different sister. As if it would make me feel better, my sister said authorities are doing similar thing to any one who have relatives outside and talk to them. She told me they would contact me if there is anything urgent otherwise do not call them.


Thank you very much for your advice! I will be certain to contact the UAA. As for specific questions...

The texts that I have available to me primarily discuss the history and sociopolitical issues surrounding the Uyghur people, particularly in the context of modern injustices against them. However, I am having difficulty finding sources on a more personal level - values and shared experiences within the culture, familial structure. I'm bad at being specific, but I'm hoping to learn more on:

What would you consider core values of the Uyghur culture? I understand that this is a vague question, and I am prepared for an equally vague answer, ahaha.

What are interfamilial relations like in Uyghur culture? Is there a strong bond with extended family and in-laws? How do sociocultural expectations differ based on sibling order? Is there focus on respecting those older than you? And this one's just from a linguistic interest - in the Uyghur language, can younger siblings call their older siblings by name or is there a term such as 'older sister' or 'older brother' that they need to use or add instead?

Further, how does the Uyghur-American experience differ from that of Uyghur experience in Xinjiang? I understand that this is a broad question and that individual experiences vary, and I would be approaching responses with that in mind. I am interested to know in terms of lifestyle and connection to Uyghur culture.

For example, in the Korean diaspora, there was an unfortunate phenomenon in which Korean parents in America decided that their children needed to learn English first and foremost. As a result, there are a great number of Korean-Americans who are unable to speak Korean. Does the Uyghur-American experience have a similar phenomenon, or are most second and third generation Uyghurs bilingual in Uyghur and English?

Do Uyghur-Americans keep their Uyghur names, or do they take Americanized names in addition or in the stead of their Uyghur names? I understand that this may differ from case to case.

Does the Uyghur community interact with the larger Muslim-American community in America, and do they identify as Muslim-American or do they maintain a distinction?

Which holidays are still celebrated, and how are they celebrated in the United States compared to other places?

Just in general, I would like to know more about what it's like to be Uyghur and or Uyghur-American on more personable level, rather than reading sources describing a whole group of people with statistics and sweeping statements. I would like to know what I would learn by getting to know someone of Uyghur heritage, which is an opportunity I have yet to have.

If it would be easier to explain Uyghur culture through means of compare-and-contrast, I have an understanding of American, Korean, and to some degree Muslim-American culture. Through Korean culture, I have some understanding of Confucianism, if it would help to compare-and-contrast using China's Confucian values. In particular, it would interest me to learn about Uyghur values and concepts that do not translate easily into an American context.

Lastly, and this is more of a personal interest question: Are there any strong thoughts in the Uyghur-American community regarding Uyghur and or Muslim representation in fiction? Is there any Uyghur representation in American fiction? Is lack of Uyghur representation in American fiction a subject of concern for the community, or are other matters considered more pressing in present date?

I apologize if I was still too vague. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer.
If you would rather email, please contact me at sjsung@brandeis.edu

Thank you!

Unregistered
21-04-17, 07:47
I meant to say brother-in-law was detained for 3 weeks, not sister-in-law.


Uyghurs in general keep their own name and give uyghur names to kids born here. Most uyghurs in US are not very religiou. Very few follow the strict religious rules such as praying 5 times a day or fasting during Ramadan. As such, there is very little if any interaction with other muslims except the few more religious uyghurs who may have more interactions with other Muslims. Uyghurs celebrate el adha which we call qurban heyt and the end of ramadan, because they have important cultural significance for us. Back home, first thing you do on the first day of those holidays is to pay visit to the graves of passed loved ones. And then spend the rest of day with your family. Second day you visit or accept visit from your close relatives and friends to reaffirm you ties. Third day you visit or be visited by your neighbors, colleagues and acquaintances. Those are the times you expected to forgive and forgiven if you had any problems with any one in your circles. They are religious holidays by origin, but often times alcohol is served when friends visit, at least in the cities. In US, we try to celebrate these holidays as we used to back home, but it is not quite possible. For the starter, we can't visit the tombs of our parents other loved ones. Often times uyghur families live in places where there are no other uyghurs. So, it is not convenient to have a holiday spirit under these circumstances. We could call families and friend back home, but our friends do not accept our calls, because the authorities give them hard time if they talk to any one outside. After the new governor of region came into power last year, he made it even harder for us to keep coomunication with our families back home. Now even our relatives do not want us to call them because the government harassment. We are very carefull not to say anything sensitive during phone calls because of the consequences. Just usual stuff like "how are you? How are your kid doing" etc. Still, just talking to us became a crime. For example, my sister in law was recently detained for 3 weeks because he accepted my call and talked with me just for 30 seconds. I found out about it other day when i was talking to a different sister. As if it would make me feel better, my sister said authorities are doing similar thing to any one who have relatives outside and talk to them. She told me they would contact me if there is anything urgent otherwise do not call them.

Unregistered
21-04-17, 08:04
Another correction or rather addition: the first thing we do in holiday mornings is to go to mosque to attend the holiday prayer and then directly go to visit the tombs of your parents or other loved ones who passed away any time in the past.


Uyghurs in general keep their own name and give uyghur names to kids born here. Most uyghurs in US are not very religiou. Very few follow the strict religious rules such as praying 5 times a day or fasting during Ramadan. As such, there is very little if any interaction with other muslims except the few more religious uyghurs who may have more interactions with other Muslims. Uyghurs celebrate el adha which we call qurban heyt and the end of ramadan, because they have important cultural significance for us. Back home, first thing you do on the first day of those holidays is to pay visit to the graves of passed loved ones. And then spend the rest of day with your family. Second day you visit or accept visit from your close relatives and friends to reaffirm you ties. Third day you visit or be visited by your neighbors, colleagues and acquaintances. Those are the times you expected to forgive and forgiven if you had any problems with any one in your circles. They are religious holidays by origin, but often times alcohol is served when friends visit, at least in the cities. In US, we try to celebrate these holidays as we used to back home, but it is not quite possible. For the starter, we can't visit the tombs of our parents other loved ones. Often times uyghur families live in places where there are no other uyghurs. So, it is not convenient to have a holiday spirit under these circumstances. We could call families and friend back home, but our friends do not accept our calls, because the authorities give them hard time if they talk to any one outside. After the new governor of region came into power last year, he made it even harder for us to keep coomunication with our families back home. Now even our relatives do not want us to call them because the government harassment. We are very carefull not to say anything sensitive during phone calls because of the consequences. Just usual stuff like "how are you? How are your kid doing" etc. Still, just talking to us became a crime. For example, my sister in law was recently detained for 3 weeks because he accepted my call and talked with me just for 30 seconds. I found out about it other day when i was talking to a different sister. As if it would make me feel better, my sister said authorities are doing similar thing to any one who have relatives outside and talk to them. She told me they would contact me if there is anything urgent otherwise do not call them.

Original Poster
05-05-17, 15:45
Thank you to everyone for your detailed responses. They have been incredibly informational, particularly the timeline regarding Uyghurs in the U.S. It really puts into perspective how little I knew of the history - and also how much history can go unnoticed if people don't put active effort into learning more. I'll have to put in more of an effort from now on.

Thank you again. I truly appreciate you taking time to answer me.