Joanne N. Smith Finley made a fieldwork in Xinjiang in 1995-6 and, apart from picking materials for her PhD, wrote this small article on the tricks of a fieldwork among a controlled population under an authoritarian regime ― we even dare say for Xinjiang among a population under colonial rule. While listing the obstacles put on the way of an ethnographer, the author leads us to realise how studies in China and specifically in Xinjiang are under strict scrutiny, and how the region’s population is scared to the point that it could not express itself even on the simplest subject and leave ground for the sole official discourse. From another viewpoint the article, based on scholar references, suggests a mode of action for a young ethnographer in order to value exchanges even with stonewalling. The author also reminds her younger colleagues to keep aware of their own prejudices, and indicates them how to introduce themselves to people. For instance, how a female researcher could handle in a male and Muslim milieu? J. N. Smith has written a lively and scholarly informative article on two uneasy subjects, research in Xinjiang and how to behave as a young researcher.

Leila Chebbi-Chérif, National Foundation for Political Science, Paris
CER: II-1.2.C-55