Refugees, Conscripts, and Constructors: Developmental Narratives and Subaltern Han in Xinjiang, China

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    Abstract

    China's frontier construction through the PRC era, involving the often-violent expansion of Han cultural and political space, has been undertaken primarily by subaltern Han people from rural areas of China. Female domestic labor has been essential to this colonial endeavor. The focus of the article is Han people associated with the organization that makes frontier construction its raison d'�tre, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, or bingtuan. More often pushed by circumstance than drawn by nationalistic fervor to settle on the backward frontier, these people and their offspring nevertheless became a significant part of the affective base of Han settlement in Xinjiang. By "affective base," I mean that this (now multigenerational) population possess a sense of belonging in and of Xinjiang that bolsters the idea of Xinjiang as an integral part of China and challenges non-Han claims of exclusive moral ownership. The ultimate construction is achieved.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalModern China
    VolumeOnline
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

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