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Capitalist Frontier-Making in Northwest China: Technologies of Muslim Enclosure, Dispossession and Subtraction


Darren Byler (Assistant Professor of International Studies, Simon Fraser University)

Anthropologist Darren Byler shows that the mass detention of over one million Muslims in "reeducation camps" is part of resource extraction in Uyghur and Kazakh lands that have led to what he calls terror capitalism. This talk will show how digital infrastructures (built in Seattle, Beijing and Xinjiang) combine with state-corporate counterterrorism to produce new forms of Muslim enclosure, dispossession and, ultimately, a subtraction of their life itself. He particularly attends to the experiences of youth who were made the primary target of state violence and how they cope with novel forms of unfreedom. By tracing the political and economic stakes of this emergent internal colonial project, Darren Byler demonstrates that state-directed capitalist dispossession is co-constructed with technologies of domination that are truly global. About the speaker: Darren Byler is an anthropologist and Assistant Professor of International Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the author of "In the Camps: China's High-Tech Penal Colony" (Columbia Global Reports 2021) and an ethnographic monograph titled "Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City" (Duke University Press 2022). His current research interests are focused on policing and carceral theory, infrastructure development and global China. Event is co-sponsored by the Critical Asian Humanities program (AMES) and the East Asia & Asian Diaspora Studies (EADS) working group.


Asia focus, China focus, Global, Human Rights, Lecture/Talk, Politics, Social Sciences, Technology