A full year has passed since I moved back to Bloomington, Indiana. In celebration of the past year and anticipation of that to come, I’ve made a number of changes to this site. In addition to editing pre-existing pages, I’ve also added new sections to detail my teaching, performance, and outreach/brokerage activities.
Much has transpired in my professional life in the past 525,600-plus minutes. Shortly after moving back to Bloomington I began the difficult but rewarding process of overhauling my dissertation, which I had begun writing while still in the field but which long suffered from my physical and mental distance from American academia. My time back at IU has been very fruitful in terms of writing: I have completed most of a first draft and am on track to defend and graduate by May 2018.
On the publication front, a textbook chapter about dastan (oral epic poetry) that I co-authored with Rahile Dawut–who was my advisor during my affiliation at Xinjiang University in 2012-13 and who remains a dear mentor and friend–was published in the Music of Central Asia textbook. Additionally, a short article I co-authored with my friend and fellow Xinjiang studies scholar Darren Byler on the broad topic of popular music in Uyghur society appeared in Pop Culture in Asia and Oceania.
The past year also afforded me numerous opportunities to present my research to a variety of audiences. I gave papers at the Third International Uyghur Studies Conference in Zvenigorod, Moscow, Russia (October 2016); the annual meeting of the Central Eurasian Studies Society in Princeton, NJ (November 2016); and the annual meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology in Washington, D.C. (November 2016). I also delivered an hour-long lecture as part of the University of Arkansas Middle East Studies Center’s speaker series in April 2017 (special thanks to Dr. Kelly Hammond for the invitation!), and in May 2017 I was one of five participants in a collaborative reading workshop on the Tarikh-i Hamidi funded by Henry Luce/ACLS and organized by Dr. Eric Schluessel at the University of Montana in Missoula.
Additionally, I assumed a number of new volunteer and outreach responsibilities over the past year. In September 2016 I took advantage of modernist poet Tahir Hamut’s brief visit to the Midwest to organize a bilingual (Uyghur-English) poetry reading with him on the IU campus. In March 2017 I took charge of organizing a concert and reception for the IU celebration of Navruz (the Persian and Central Asian New Year); I also worked with local businesses to organize a separate off-campus dance night in celebration of the same holiday. Throughout the year I did my best to stay active as a performer and educator of Uyghur music traditions, as well, sharing bits of the Uyghur dutar, folksong, and muqam repertoires with audiences at a number of concerts and events around the IU campus.
Life has been busy with non-research work, as well. Last July I began working at the Indiana University GradGrants Center, where I have delivered numerous workshops and presentations on grant-writing in addition to working one-on-one with scores of graduate students from across the various disciplines at IU to refine proposals for grants from NSF, Fulbright-Hays, SSRC, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, and various other funding agencies. I have also continued to grow my freelance business, teaching Uyghur intensively to a private student over the past year and taking on occasional jobs in editing, grant-writing, and translation. A number of my personal translation projects remain in various stages of completion, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of them through to the publication stage.
I’m excited to see what the coming year holds and hope to be around here more often to share news from my professional life in real-ish time. Here’s to the next 525,600 minutes.