Darren Byler
Anthropology PhD Candidate, University of Washington

Iím interested in the phenomenology of urban life as expressed through the visual, material culture and the built environment in Northwest China (Xinjiang) and Central Asia. Having completed an M.A. in East Asian Studies at Columbia University in 2009 and a year of language study in China in 2010, my current research analyzes sites of cultural performance and levity which coexist with programs of control, cultural displacement and an atmosphere of ethnic and economic violence in the region. Iím fascinated with the ways in which differently positioned Han and Uyghur artists, musicians, and poets express cultural values in the desert and mountain landscapes of Central Asia and how these performances are in turn related to forms of ethics and politics.

For more on my project, please visit my repository of emerging forms of art and politics called
The Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia