"Research has always fascinated me, but I have never had such an opportunity to research a topic, of my own choosing, in such depth. I applied to the Scholars program in order to learn how to research in the humanities. While the natural sciences have a definitive method for research, methods for conducting research in the humanities seem a bit ambiguous in my opinion. I have found a great professor who is willing to supervise my research, and so I have high hopes of compiling good research, writing a good paper, and disseminating my findings to the world. If I'm lucky, maybe a few people outside the field will even read it!"
My research interests include policies towards minorities in the People's Republic of China, the Uyghur minority diaspora abroad, Sino-Eurasian relations, and Uyghur identity.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- IILE Scholarship (2011)
- Summer Workshop for Slavic, East European and Central Asian Languages (SWSEEL) (2011)
- Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
- World Music Ensemble (African Drumming Ensemble)
Hobbies and Interests
- Reading about Central Asia and China, meeting people, volleyball, Tuvan throat singing, and learning Eyghur and Kyrgyz.
Microblogging and Uyghur Identity in the People’s Republic of China (PRC)
The Uyghur minority group is one of fifty six official minority groups of the People's Republic of China. Uyghurs predominately live in P.R. China's Northwestern most Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), known to many Uyghurs as East Turkestan, although there are significant diasporic communities of Uyghurs in Central Asia, Germany, the United States, Australia, and elsewhere. Even before the founding of the P.R. China, ethnic tension has existed in the area, and both the Chinese and Uyghurs claim ownership of XUAR. When looking at the ways Uyghurs define themselves, discourse on social networking sites, blogs, message boards, and various forums can not be overlooked. My research project focuses on the ways in which Uyghur netizens discuss Uyghur culture to construct a national identity. Furthermore, I will compare the discourse of online Uyghur communities in diaspora to online Uyghur communities in China, and how these two groups purport Uyghurness. I will archive blog posts, forum discussions, and message board posts of a similar time form these two groups, and will rely primarily on these primary sources to see how they paint the picture of a different Uyghur, XUAR, and identity. The ultimate goal of my research is to show how imperative the internet is in cultural production, and more so identity construction. In the status quo, netizens are discussing identity, and subsequently changing national identity in the process. In reference to Uyghur netizens, P.R. China is taking a strong stance against nationalism, sometimes perceived as dissidence and separatism, on the internet, and thus has payed special attention to Uyghur netizens, social networking sites, and blogs. The internet has proven a successful tool when it comes to the Uyghur fight for independence, but I beg the question: Who wants this, why do they want it, and does this goal reflect all Uyghurs?