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The Junghar Mongol Legacy and the Language of Loyalty in Qing Xinjiang


In light of recent scholarly interest in the Qing empire’s handling of ethnic and religious differences, David Brophy explores the place of Islam, and the Muslims of Xinjiang, within the Qing imperium. Qing multilingualism and ideological pluralism rarely extended to the language and faith of Xinjiang’s Muslims. Some scholars have seen this as evidence that the Qing sought, but ultimately failed, to treat the Muslims of Xinjiang as one of its constituencies. Through an analysis of translation practices, Brophy argues that the Qing had a view of Inner Asian Muslims that derived from the latter’s role as go-betweens in diplomatic and trade relations with the Junghar Mongols. As a result, Qing officials found among these Muslims collaborators who were capable of meeting the Qing empire on the common ground of Mongolian concepts of rulership; thus they felt no need to develop a distinctly Islamic justification for ruling in Xinjiang.