100 Years of Xinjiang Cinema: Film in Society in Xinjiang

Project: Research project

Project Details


The proposed research is a critical and comprehensive study of Xinjiang Uyghur cinema. "Xinjiang Uyghur cinema” is defined as cinematic works made by or involving the participation of Uyghur film makers, films made in or involving the use of the Uyghur language, films made on subject matters about Uyghur culture, history and/or people, and films made on location in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China.

The first item of output of this research will be a monograph tracing the development of Xinjiang Uyghur cinema since the first recorded cinematic screening in Xinjiang in 1912. The chapters of the monograph will follow a chronological order, each will explore the aesthetic, social, cultural, political and economic functions of the films produced in respective periods. Focus will be placed on the representations of modernity in Xinjiang in these films. The second item of output will be a website listing known Xinjiang Uyghur films with relevant information about them. The third item of output will be a collection of Xinjiang Uyghur films subtitled in Chinese and English housed in the University library for access by the academic community.

Data collection and textual analysis supplemented by contextual reading will form the main research methodology. Since there are no comprehensive studies on Xinjiang Uyghur cinema available to date, the data presented in the monograph will mainly constitute primary data resulting from original searches. Three historical and press archives have been identified as the main sources. About 70 films fitting the definition of Xinjiang Uyghur cinema in this research have been collected by the PI. Many of them have not been studied in academic discourses, and some of them have never been circulated beyond the Uyghur communities. About 20 will be used as major case studies.

Detailed textual analysis and contextual reading will be conducted on these films. All the analysis in this research will be underpinned by the theoretical principle of historicisation, and by the research intention of discovering the representations and construction of modernity in these films. The Uyghur perspective will be given prominent attention in order for Uyghur cinema to be understood on its own terms in addition to being a genre of Chinese cinema.
Effective start/end date1/01/1631/12/18


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