David R. Stroup, "Pure and True: The Everyday Politics of Ethnicity for China's Hui Muslims" (U Washington Press, 2022)


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Compared to their Uyghur and Kazakh co-religionists in Xinjiang, China’s largest single Muslim group – the Hui – has received less media and scholarly attention lately, perhaps understandably so since the former groups have borne the brunt of the campaigns of ethnic enclosure and erasure launched in recent years by the Chinese Communist Party. But as a near-ubiquitous presence across China and thus a community deeply involved in the waves of migration and urbanisation affecting many PRC citizens in recent decades, the Hui offer a compelling case through which to examine how religious, ethnic, class and other identities intersect with these processes.

Focusing on communities in four diverse Chinese cities, David Stroup’s Pure and True: The Everyday Politics of Ethnicity for China's Hui Muslims (U Washington Press, 2022) provides a careful dissection of the complex negotiations of intersecting identities that face today’s Hui. Based on dozens of interviews and ethnographic observation, this clearly written and persuasive book has much to say about how people’s day-to-day understandings of ‘Huiness’ intersect with the categories put forward by the state, and how local debates unfolding internally within Hui communities may be reframed as they themselves fall under the gaze of the ‘people’s war on terror.’

Ed Pulford is an Anthropologist and Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Manchester. His research focuses on friendships and histories between the Chinese, Korean and Russian worlds, and indigeneity in northeast Asia.

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