China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

1 - Like the Spokes of a Wheel: Post-Bellum Resettlements and the Transformation of Gansu Muslim Society (1871-1895)

Friday, July 6
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Willow, First Floor

The Great Northwestern Muslim Rebellion (c.1861-1874) left Gansu and Shaanxi devastated, to the extent that it took the population of Gansu over 100 years to recover to its antebellum levels. The reconstruction process, however, involved not just the resettlement of the many refugees who had fled the chaos. To ensure that rebellion could not reoccur, Muslims were to be deliberately resettled away from their non-Muslim neighbors. The patchwork nature of the reconstruction and the limited capacity meant that this program was only ever partially implemented. However, as I demonstrate in this paper, the changed nature of the Qing state’s relationship with Muslim military leaders and the creation of new Muslim population centers began a transformation of the Islamic communities of the northwest, even as the intent of the reconstructions began to reconfigure wider expectations of Muslims and their place in a non-Muslim society. This paper explores the emergence of the ‘haiyi’ system  (a centralized system wherein a central great mosque oversees the affairs of a network of village mosques) in the specific context of western Gansu as a consequence of the post-rebellion reconstruction. This innovation was both an outgrowth of these postbellum changes and a product of and contributor to emerging currents of Islamic reformism within local Muslim communities.

Hannah Theaker

University of Oxford, United Kingdom

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1 - Like the Spokes of a Wheel: Post-Bellum Resettlements and the Transformation of Gansu Muslim Society (1871-1895)



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