Terror Capitalism: Turkic Muslim Dispossession in Northwest China

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Monday, February 3rd, 2020

Monday, February 3, 20204:00PM - 6:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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East Asian Seminar Series


A new system of control, made up of a multi-billion dollar industry of computer-vision technologies, militarized policing, and the mass mobilization of civil servants and private industrialists, is attempting to transform Uyghur and Kazakh native societies in Northwest China. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, this talk describes the history which produced these forms of surveillance and demonstrates the quotidian experience of their effects on Turkic Muslim social institutions. It argues that this system of “reeducation” is, in fact, a social engineering system that works in concert with a Chinese form of illiberal capitalism to produce forms of family separation and economic production. As it is implemented, it has the effect of partitioning and radically disempowering women and men who are already marginalized within national and international systems.

Darren Byler is a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Asian Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder. His book project titled Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City focuses on the effects of digital cultural production and surveillance industries in the lives of Uyghur and Han male migrants in the city of Ürümchi, Xinjiang.


Tong Lam
Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Toronto

Darren Byler
Post-doctoral Researcher, Center for Asian Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder

Jayeeta Sharma
Associate Professor, History and Global Asia Studies, University of Toronto, Scarborough

Vincent Wong
William C. Graham Research Associate at the International Human Rights Program, University of Toronto Faculty of Law

Main Sponsor

Asian Institute


Department of History, University of Toronto

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