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Minority Education in ChinaBalancing Unity and Diversity in an Era of Critical Pluralism$
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James Leibold and Yangbin Chen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9789888208135

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888208135.001.0001

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Uyghur University Students and Ramadan

Uyghur University Students and Ramadan

Challenging the Minkaomin/Minkaohan Labels

Chapter:
(p.221) 10 Uyghur University Students and Ramadan
Source:
Minority Education in China
Author(s):

Timothy Grose

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888208135.003.0011

In his chapter, Timothy Grose critically interrogates the relationship between social background and religiosity among his Uyghur informants. He explores the complex attitudes Uyghur students in Beijing have towards Ramadan, the obligatory month-long fast observed by Muslims worldwide. He reminds us how fluid and situational ethnic identity is outside official state discourse, and warns against the dangers of reifying educational categories like minkaomin (minority students taking exams in minority languages) and minkaohan (Han students taking exams in Chinese) or projecting cultural stereotypes onto them. He demonstrates how the decision to fast during Ramadan is closely correlated with family background and personal choice rather than educational background. It is an important reminder that while state categories might be rigid, quotidian identity (both group and individual) is anything but.

Keywords:   Uyghurs, Xinjiang, China, Minority education, Ramadan, Minkaomin, Minkaohan, Chinese minorities, ethnicity

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