Online Discussion on Northwest China/Xinjiang

This event is online as a podcast here.

Minutes of the event in Chinese: 简体字 (simplified) and 繁体字 (traditional).

Announcement: Rather than using frameworks of “human rights” or “ethnic conflict,” this talk considers the economic factors that have produced protest and violence in Northwest China (Xinjiang). Using a Marxist mode of analysis, it argues that the material and digital enclosures of Uyghurs can be thought of as part of a process of “original accumulation.” Because Uyghurs have been framed by state authorities as a threatening, yet detainable, subject population, their existence offers technology companies space and funding that is unavailable in other parts of China to develop new technologies. These new technologies can then be used to assist in the “legal” theft of their labor when they are assigned to work in unfree conditions. Building on analysis of labor exploitation in Eastern China and forms of development in other spaces in China, the talk describes the way state power is channeled through infrastructure and institutions to intensify ethno-racialization and produce a “reeducation labor regime” at a frontier of global capitalism.

Date: Saturday, January 9, 2021
Time: 4 p.m. CET/Europe – 11 p.m. CST/China – 10 a.m. EDT/U.S.
: Terror Capitalism: The Enclosure of Uyghurs in Northwest China
Speaker: Darren BYLER
Moderator: Ralf Ruckus

Reading list for the event’s Q&A:
‘Uyghurs are so bad’: Chinese dinner table politics in Xinjiang (Darren Byler)
The imprisonment of the ‘model villagers’ (Darren Byler)
Preventative Policing as Community Detention in Northwest China (Darren Byler)

The speaker: Darren BYLER is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Asian Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He researches the dispossession of ethno-racial Muslim minorities through forms of surveillance and digital capitalism in China and Southeast Asia. His first book Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City (Duke University Press 2021) examines emerging forms of ethno-racialization, capitalism and state power in the Uyghur region in Chinese Central Asia (Xinjiang). His second book project Technologies of Reeducation considers the social life of surveillance technologies among ethno-racial minorities in China and around the world.

Sponsors: This event is co-sponsored by, Made in China Journal, positions politics, and Critical China Scholars. The foundation Stiftung Menschenwürde und Arbeitswelt (Berlin, Germany) provided financial support for the technical platform.

For other events, please, see the “China and the Left”-series page.