noodlin' around

The Contest in Context: Noodlin’ Around

Laghman, Uyghur hand-pulled noodles, is one of the most beloved dishes in the region. Crossing into multiple worlds, it combines cultured delicacy with a bold attack on the palate. For this very special session of our virtual series, we have invited online sensation Aliya (aka Dolan Chick) and human rights advocate, scholar, and avid home chef Dr. Elise Anderson. With fun, flair, and a heavy dose of fervor, Aliya and Elise will teach you the most tricky part of Laghman: hand pulling the dough into long and slender chewy noodles. After the demonstration, we will have some time for Q&A to further explore the social and cultural context of this tantalizing treat. 

Featured Guests:

Aliya (aka Dolan Chick) is a Uyghur woman who first studied and now lives and works in Europe. Her love for traditional Uyghur food inspires her to share it with as many people as possible. She started with a YouTube channel where she shares her experience and knowledge on this ”obscure” but delicious cuisine. She didn’t stop there, though. She has also created a Uyghur food blog where she makes Uyghur cuisine as easy and accessible as possible — while showing the food at its best through beautiful photography. If that wasn’t enough, she recently started cooking live online with others; reaching more people on a more personal level. Currently she is researching and working on her first Uyghur cookbook.

Elise Anderson is a human rights advocate, scholar, translator, and performer based in Washington, DC. There she works as the senior program officer for research and advocacy at the Uyghur Human Rights Project, a research-based advocacy organization fighting for the rights of Uyghurs and other oppressed Turkic and Muslim peoples in East Turkestan. She holds dual PhD degrees in Central Eurasian studies and ethnomusicology from Indiana University-Bloomington, granted in 2019 after conducting years of primary field and archival research on muqam, classical Uyghur music. In 2020, she testified before the International Human Rights Committee of the Canadian House of Commons and gave commentary on the Uyghur genocide to a number of major media outlets. Her writing has appeared in a number of scholarly and public-facing publications, including Asian Music, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.