Virtual workshop: Book Talk-Land of Strangers: The Civilizing Project in Qing Central Asia

Date & Time

14. 12. 2020; 4PM


Online via Zoom:


At the close of the nineteenth century, near the end of the Qing empire, Confucian revivalists from central China gained control of the Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang, or East Turkestan. There they undertook a program to transform Turkic-speaking Muslims into Chinese-speaking Confucians, seeking to bind this population and their homeland to the Chinese cultural and political realm. Instead of assimilation, divisions between communities only deepened, resulting in a profound estrangement that continues to this day. Land of Strangers explores this encounter between Chinese power and a Muslim society through the struggles of ordinary people in the oasis of Turpan. It follows the stories of families divided by war, women desperate to survive, children unsure where they belong, and many others to reveal the human consequences of a bloody conflict and the more insidious violence of reconstruction.


Eric Schluessel is a social historian of China and Central Asia and assistant professor of history and international affairs at the George Washington University. He previously taught at the University of Montana and has held research fellowships from the Mellon Foundation through the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He holds a PhD in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University.