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Oil and WaterBeing Han in Xinjiang$
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Tom Cliff

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226359939

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226360270.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Constructing the Civilized City

Constructing the Civilized City

(p.27) One Constructing the Civilized City
Oil and Water

Tom Cliff

University of Chicago Press

The first chapter places the contemporary manifestation of the long-running statist project to “civilize” the periphery and its populations in an historical perspective. Scholars have long recognized that urban form reflects culture and power in society. This image-rich chapter documents the ongoing urban and social transformation of the small city of Korla, in South Xinjiang. Although Turkic Uyghur people are most grievously dispossessed–in both economic and cultural terms–similar processes are being repeated in small and mid-sized cities across China. Thus, Korla’s transformation reflects a particular Chinese bureaucratic sense of what urbanization and modernity ought to entail, and also what they ought not entail. In Xinjiang, the objects of the civilizing project include Han people, practices, and places. The claim to be one of those doing the civilizing, a “constructor,” is important in this environment because it implies entitlement.

Keywords:   Korla, Uyghur, Han, civilizing project, modernity, urbanization, constructor, urban form, culture, power

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