Reviews

Despite its promising title, this study does not provide a description of popular practices in Eastern Turkistani Islam.  There is, perhaps, a merit in synthesising information scattered in secondary literature in English.  However, insofar as the article is based mostly on well-known British travelogues (Skrine, Bellew, Sykes, etc.) or on discussable internet data from the Uighur American Association, it fails to describe what actually popular Islam was in Chinese Central Asia during the period under consideration.  If this notion of popular Islam has any clear significance (does it include the cult of the saints? Ishanism? the bakhshilik?), one should start by analysing important sources like the chronicles by Mulla Musa Sayrami or by Qurban-‘Ali Khalidi, as well as the biographical literature (notably the äslimä-s published in the journal Shinjang tarikh materialliri).  Needless to say, a complementary way is made of fieldwork in Xinjiang.

Alexandre Papas, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-5.3.E-507