ProfileDynamics of collective memory, remembrance, alternative identities and narrative shaping are my main research interests, positioned at the intersection of different disciplines: China studies, sociology and political sciences. What I investigate is how diversity is considered and understood in different contexts, across multiple cognitive environments, and how its management is linked with concepts of power and space. My expertise revolves around Chinese society and politics and the issues of diversity and ‘otherness’, focusing on Islamic communities and especially the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, an area characterised by a long history of religious and ethnic diversity and cross-cultural interaction. I mainly explore the policies of Chinese national and local government to dilute the identity of and integrate religious and cultural minorities, such as the Uyghurs.
My recent research explores Islamic communities in Suzhou, specifically its mosques, which date back to the 13th century, when Muslim soldiers, merchants, officials and interpreters reached the city with the Yuan dynasty armies. Only one mosque now remains operational in the city. In this context, I am researching the role of communities and collective memory in preserving heritage and cultural differences in China through buildings, written stories and historical records.
I also explore how China’s attitude to diversity and ‘otherness’ is reflected in its foreign policy and how the country projects its image abroad. I mainly look at how domestic targets and narratives are translated into foreign policy understandings, and this helps me to delve into the dimensions and criteria followed by governments in projecting a country’s image abroad.
I welcome students who are interested in Ph.D. research in any of the following areas: Chinese society with a focus on identity and marginality; China's cultural diplomacy and Belt and Road Initiative; China's periphery; policy processes in social development; Islam in China.