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Almaty Meshrep

Rachel HarrisAugust 2020, Kazakhstan The Almaty meshrep has played the leading role in the meshrep revival in Kazakhstan over the past decade. It began in 2009, led by Meshrep Beg Burhan Tajidinov, based on models of meshrep from the Uyghur homeland. It serves as a model for other meshrep groups in Kazakhstan. Burhan is invited by new groups to

The Uyghur Meshrep: A traditional community gathering censored in China

The Uyghurs, a Turkic nation of over 25 million people who live across Central Asia, have a long history and a rich cultural heritage that combines elements of nomadism and sedentarism, pre-Islamic, Sufi, and Muslim spiritual traditions. One component of this culture is the meshrep ( مەشرەپ in Uyghur), a community gathering, mostly male, in which music and judgement

“A Weekly Mäshräp to Tackle Extremism”: Music-Making in Uyghur Communities and Intangible Cultural Heritage in China

RACHEL HARRIS ABSTRACT  This article provides an in-depth study and critique of the nomination and inscription of an item on UNESCO’s lists of intangible cultural heritage, and the developments following its acceptance. China is now a major partner in UNESCO’s heritage projects, but the application and experience of heritage initiatives across China has been highly

The Yerkent Meshrep

Rachel HarrisAugust 2020, Kazakhstan The town of Zharkent, or Yerkent in the Uyghur pronunciation, lies in southeast Kazakhstan, near the Chinese border crossing and trading centre of Khorgas. It is an important centre for Uyghurs, many of whom arrived from the neighbouring Ghulja region of the Uyghur homeland (Xinjiang) in the late 1950s. The Yerkent

Gheyret Youth Meshrep

Rachel Harris August 2020, Kazakhstan Kayrat, or Gheyret in the Uyghur pronunciation, is a small town in southeast Kazakhstan, which lies an hour’s drive east from Almaty. The town is 80% Uyghur, but it is home to many different ethnicities: Kazakhs, Russians, Turks, Azarbaijans and Germans, though many left after independence, even a few remaining

Project people

Rachel Harris (Principal Investigator) Rachel Harris teaches at SOAS, University of London (www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff31068.php) . Her research focuses on expressive culture, religious life, and the politics of heritage in China and Central Asia. Her co-edited volumes include Situating the Uyghurs: between China and Central Asia (Ashgate 2007) and she is the author of The Making of a Musical

Towards an alternative model of heritage as sustainable development: Uyghur meshrep in Kazakhstan

A collaborative research project supported by the British Academy Sustainable Development Fund Project partners:  SOAS, University of London, UKTuran University, Almaty, Kazakhstan  Our project focuses on meshrep: a system of community gatherings maintained by ethnic Uyghurs in southeast Kazakhstan. Meshrep involve music, dance, joking, readings, and an informal community court.  They forge lasting community bonds, support the