The Contest in Context: From Chaghatay to Rhythm and Rhyme

A roundtable discussion on Uyghur language preservation with rapper Nashtarr and linguistic anthropologist Gülnar Eziz, moderated by social historian Eric Schluessel and Project Liaison Pia Chakraverti-Wuerthwein.

In this conversation, we discussed the work being done by Uyghur scholars to digitize historic texts and keep the language alive through their studies and advocacy, as well as the work of rappers to twist and transform the language: keeping it in the minds and on the tongues of young Uyghurs in China and the diaspora. We also delved into the question of how the current political reality in China has affected Nashtarr’s ability to reach Uyghurs there, his use of Chinese in his rap, and what our guests hope the future will bring for the Uyghur language. Captions available.