A new system of control, made up of a multi-billion dollar industry of computer-vision technologies, militarized policing, and the mass mobilization of Chinese civil servants and Han industrialists, is attempting to transform Uyghur and other Turkic minority societies in Northwest China. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in the Uyghur region, this talk describes the history which produced these forms of surveillance and demonstrates the quotidian experience of their effects in Uyghur society. It argues that this system of "reeducation" is, in fact, a social engineering system that works in concert with a Chinese form of illiberal capitalism.
Darren Byler is a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Asian Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder where he studies the effects of Chinese infrastructure and security technology. His book titled Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculine Violence in a Chinese City (under contract at Duke University Press) focuses on the effects of digital cultural production, surveillance industries and mass internment in the lives of Uyghur and Han male migrants in the city of Ürümchi, the capital of Chinese Central Asia (Xinjiang). He has published research articles in the Asia-Pacific Journal, Contemporary Islam, Central Asian Survey, the Journal of Chinese Contemporary Art and contributed essays to volumes on ethnography of Islam in China, transnational Chinese cinema and travel and representation. In addition he has provided expert testimony on Uyghur human rights issues before the Canadian Parliament and writes a regular column on Turkic Muslim colonization for the journal SupChina. He also edits the art and politics repository The Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia, which is hosted at livingotherwise.com.
Sponsored by Asian Studies Program, and Departments of Philosophy, Sociology and Anthropology, and Religious Studies.