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 Canon in Chinese Central Asia (Ashgate 2008). She has worked with a wide range of outreach and applied projects relating to Central Asian and Chinese music.

She led the Leverhulme Research Project ‘Sounding Islam in Chinawww.soundislamchina.org’ (2014-2017), and her latest monograph, Soundscapes of Uyghur Islam will be published in 2020 by Indiana University Press.

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 Canon in Chinese Central Asia (Ashgate 2008). She has worked with a wide range of outreach and applied projects relating to Central Asian and Chinese music.

She led the Leverhulme Research Project ‘Sounding Islam in Chinawww.soundislamchina.org’ (2014-2017), and her latest monograph, Soundscapes of Uyghur Islam will be published in 2020 by Indiana University Press.

Ablet Kamalov (Co- Investigator)

Ablet Kamalov is Professor of History at Turan University, Almaty, Kazakhstan. He studied at Tashkent State University, Faculty of Oriental Studies, and at the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Science in St Petersburg. He earned his Doctorate in History in 2009 at the Institute of Oriental Studies in Kazakhstan. The sphere of his expertise includes the history and culture of the Uyghurs. He contributed to the national project on ethnic minorities of Kazakhstan in 2016-2017, which resulted in the publication of two monographs: ‘Uyghurs of Kazakhstan’ (2017)  and ‘Dungans of Kazakhstan’ (2017). His scholarship is recognised internationally, and he is a Board Member of the European Society for Central Asian Studies, and serves on theAdvisory Committee for the Central Asian Studies Institute of the American University in Central Asia. He has been awarded grants by Indiana, Washington and Oxford Universities. He is author of six books and more than 200 articles on history and culture of Uyghurs. English language publications include:

‘Ethno-national and local dimensions of the historiography of Kazakhstan’s Uyghurs’, Central Asian Survey31(3), 2012, 343-354.

‘Uyghurs in Central Asian Republics: past and present’, in China, Xinjiang and Central Asia. History, Transition and Crossborder Interaction into the 21stcentury, ed. C. Mackerras and M. Clarke. London & New York: Routledge, 2009, 115-132.

‘Uyghur Nationalism and Islam: A historical perspective’, in Nationalisms across the Globe. An overview of Nationalisms in state endowed and stateless nations.Volume II, Ed. W.J. Burszat, T. Kamusella and S. Woijciechowski. Poznan: School of Humanities and Journalism, 2006, 533-550.

Aziz Isa Elkun (Researcher, Digital manager and Web Admin)

Aziz Isa Elkun is a writer and academic. He was born in Shayar County in East Turkistan, and graduated from Urumchi University. He has been living in London since 2001, where he studied at Birkbeck University. He has published many poems, stories, and research articles in both Uyghur and and English language (www.azizisa.org), and has co-authored English language articles in Inner Asia and Central Asian Survey. From 2013, he worked as a Research Assistant on the “Sounding Islam China” project in SOAS, University of London. In 2012, he published his first book “Journey from Danube river to the Orkhun valley” in Uyghur. In 2017, he published a Uyghur language research article arising from this fieldwork, titled “The Uyghurs are known in Central Asia for their laghmen”. He is an active member of the exile Uyghur Community and founder of the London Uyghur Ensemble. Since September 2017, he has served as Secretary of the International PEN Uyghur Centre (www.uyghurpen.org). Since September 2018, he is working as a Researcher Affiliate on a British Academy Sustainable Development project “Uyghur Meshrep in Kazakhstan” based at SOAS, University of London. English language publications include:

 ‘Invitation to a Mourning Ceremony’: Perspectives on the Uyghur Internet’, with Rachel Harris, Inner Asia 13(1), 2010, 27-49.

Islam by smartphone: reading the Uyghur Islamic revival on WeChat’, with Rachel Harris, Central Asian Survey 38(1), 2019, 61-80. 

Film: “An unanswered telephone call”  2018;  X World Short Film Festival 2019, Rome.

Mukaddas Mijit (Researcher and Film maker)

Mukaddas Mijit is an ethnomusicologist, film maker, dancer, and music manager. She was born and raised in the Uyghur homeland, and moved to Paris in 2003. She obtained her MA at the University of Sorbonne on Sufi practice in the Uyghur Region, and was awarded her PhD in ethnomusicology at the University of Paris Nanterre in 2015, researching the “Staging of Uyghur Music and Dance”. She has published several articles in edited volumes and peer reviewed journals including the leading French language journal Cahiers d’Ethnomusicologie. She has made four substantial documentaries and a series of short films on Uyghur culture. Currently she is teaching Visual Anthropology at the University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès while working on several research and film projects about Uyghur culture and arts. Key publications include: 2018, « Elley Balam, une berceuse ouïghoure sur scène » Cahiers d’ethnomusicologie 31, Enfants musiciens, ADEM, Genève, 241-248.

2018, “Uyghur jadidism and the brief history of the artistic troupes in early 20th century: The artistic exchange between Uyghur, Turkish, Azerbaijani and Uzbek reformists”, Proceedings of scientific Symposium in the Vth International Mugham Festival “The world of Mugham”, Baku, 302-315.

2016, « Le soufisme chez les Uyghur / Ouïgours de Ghulja. La voie des anciens », Etudes Orientales 27-28 (1-2), Françoise Aubin, Burhan Ghalioun, Marie – Paule Hille (Edit), L’Harmattan, 117-160.

FILMS

2019 Traditional instrument making in Occitania 55’, Centre for Traditional Music and Dance Occitane.

2013 Qetiq, Rock’n Ürümchi, 55’, Morgenland festival Osnabrück, Dreyer Gaido Musikproduktionen.

Rakhmetjan Yüsüpov (Researcher)

Rakhmetjan Yüsüpov was born in Chilek county, Almaty Prefecture in Kazakhstan. He graduated from Abay Kazakh Pedagogical University in 1986, majoring in Philology. After serving in the army, he worked as a researcher in the Literature and Arts Department of the Uyghur Institute of The Academy of Kazakhstan. From 1993, he worked for the Literature and Arts Institute named after Muhter Avizov. At the same institute he obtained a Doctorate in Philology, on the historical novels of Uyghur author Ziya Semidi. 

He is author of the following works: a Uyghur language monograph, “Historical novels of Ziya Semidi” (Mir Publications 2005); an edited collection in Uyghur, “Best examples of classic historical stories and lyrics” (Mir Publications 2006); the Russian language “Ghazal – traditional literature of East Turkistan”(Mir Publications 2013).

Zulfiya Kerimova (Researcher)

Zulfiya Kerimova was born in Chong Aqsu town, Uyghur county, in Kazakhstan. She graduated from Almaty Abay State University, majoring in Uyghur language, literature and history.  From 1998, she worked as a researcher for the Uyghur Institute named after R.B. Sulaymanov, Ministry of Science and Knowledge of Republic of Kazakhstan. From 2003, she conducted research on Molla Musa Sayrami’s historical book “Tarixi-i eminiye” (History of Peace). In 2010, she completed her thesis titled “Sources in the history of the people of East Turkistan through the Tarixi-i eminiye”. She has also worked on various projects at the Uyghur institute in co-operation with the Turkish Academy. While her research focuses on 19th century manuscripts written in East Turkistan, she also works on the region’s history and international relations. Since 2014, she has been teaching “Regional and International Relations” at Turan University. She is author of over 40 academic articles published in Uyghur, Kazakh, Russian and Turkish. Key publications include:

«Tarix-i Aminiya» Molla Musa Sayrami // Tyurkskië istochniki po istorii Kazaxstana. T V. Almati, 2007, 292- 330.

Tyurkskië istochniki o diplomatichëskix swyazyax gosudrstwa Yëttishar s Angliëy wo wtoroy polowinë XIX wëka //  Wostokowëdnië isslëdowaniya na Altaë, Wipusk VI, Barnaul, 2009, 51-59.

Musa Sayramiyin “Tarih-i eminiye” kaynagının el yazması ve basın nüsheleri hakkında. // Ankara: Hakimli, 2010, №3.