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Conflicting Identities: Negotiating Ethnicity and Religion in Mongol China and Beyond

Sat, June 25, 8:30 to 10:20am, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 106

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel Proposal Application


This panel explores challenges posed by the formation and combination of multiple identities under Mongol rule in China, the ideas and policies proposed to resolve these challenges, and the consequent reshaping of social dynamics and political elites.
In seeking common factors facilitating this multi-cultural integration, the panel revolves around the two major, interconnected themes of political legitimacy and religion as key factors in processes of identity-building in Mongol East Asia.
Fiaschetti’s paper offers an introductory overview of the shifting concepts of identity-building in Mongolian tradition, and the influence of this on the writing of ethnography and historiography under the Yuan dynasty. Landa and Humble explore the issue further by interrogating the narrative manifestation of conflicts between and around such groups, first with specific reference to the Oyirads, and secondly in broader ‘ethnic’ terms, and the framing and linking of this to both specific solutions and broader legitimatory issues.
Focussing on the spread of Islam and its coexistence with a variety of religious traditions in different parts of China, Shurany and Mukai investigate connections between political and religious aspects of Mongol rule, the changes wrought by these in the social landscape and efforts to maintain social harmony.
Though investigating a homogeneous set of materials, mostly epigraphy and official historiography, the papers nevertheless reveal the many facets of negotiation over ethnicity and identity in Yuan China and the wide variety of problems, solutions, and, sometimes, successes, thrown up by these diverse processes.

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