Sexual Violence in History: A Bibliography

compiled by Stefan Blaschke


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First published: March 1, 2024 - Last updated: March 1, 2024


Speaker: Eric Schluessel

Title: Consuming Anarkhan

Subtitle: An Uyghur Heroine across the Twentieth Century

Conference: Annual Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (March 1: Virtual, March 14-17, 2024: In-Person) - Online Program

Session: K003 - Consuming Xinjiang: Ethnic Minorities in China’s Nation-Building and Beyond (Chair: Yun-Chu Tsai)

Place: Seattle, Washington, United States

Date: March 17, 2024

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century, 21st Century | Asian History: Chinese History | Cases: Fictional Victims / Anarkhan; Society: Rape Culture / Metaphors


Link: -


Speaker: Eric Schluessel, Department of History, The George Washington University -

Abstract: »The classic story of Anarkhan, the Uyghur woman hero, took on many forms over the course of the twentieth century: manuscript, vernacular history, folk song, movie, and television drama. Over time, the setting has shifted from 1920s Kashgar to the eve of Liberation, while the underlying themes and narrative of the Anarkhan story have also changed: a story that once reflected the narrative conventions of Islamic hagiography came to carry a Turkic nationalist message, while it was also intertwined with Maoist narratives of feudal backwardness and revolution. This paper explores two themes that have persisted throughout the Anarkhan story's retellings, from the earliest known folk song to the 2013 drama. The first is the association of the heroine Anarkhan's physical beauty with the natural landscape, which articulates differently with Sufism, nationalism, and a Great Lead Forward-era narrative of environmental destruction. The second is the lingering of the gaze, both in text and in cinematography, on Anarkhan's body in ways that highlight her sexual attractiveness. The consumption of the Uyghur landscape and consumption of an Uyghur woman's body are linked through a metaphor of sexual violence that explicitly invites the reader/viewer to participate in Anarkhan's objectification. The persistence of this objectification, I argue, relates to historically specific tensions surrounding the boundaries of ethnic and religious communities in Xinjiang.« (Source: Online Program)

Wikipedia: History of Asia: History of China, History of the Uyghur people | Sex and the law: Sexual violence