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Public Lecture "Homeland, Refuge, and Magnet: Mecca in the Travels and Imaginaries of Chinese Muslims" by Janice Hyeju Jeong

11.05.2022 | 18:00 - 19:30

Mecca is often conceptualized as a destination for the annual pilgrimage (hajj) or a source of leverage for states and Islamist movements. For Islam in China, the hajj has been identified as a significant factor in initiating new waves of religious movements upon pilgrim-scholars’ returns.While building on such transnational angles, the talk proposes to view Mecca as a convergence point for diaspora populations – in other words, an intermediary site that has received and redirected the mobilities of sojourners, refugees, and exiles from different parts of Asia throughout the manifold turnovers of the twentieth century. The talk will focus on a community of first- to third-generation settlers in the western coats of Saudi Arabia (the Hejaz) who trace their other homes to different places in China Proper. The routes between Mecca and China, coupled with imaginaries of the city as a home place for Muslims worldwide, served as a rare constant orienting force that sustained two-directional mobilities of Chinese Muslim diasporas through the wars and revolutions of modern times.


Janice Hyeju Jeong is a postdoctoral researcher of the team “Conceptions of World Order and their Social Carrier Groups" at University of Göttingen. Her research interests include Islam in China, Sino-Arabian interactions, and history and anthropology. Her book manuscript explores the significance of Mecca, real and imagined, in sustaining multi-directional mobility of Chinese Muslim diasporas through the ruptures of the twentieth century.


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