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Dungan Folktales of Central Asia

October 13, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT


The CUNY REEES Workshop is pleased to host Kenneth Yin, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY, to present his research.

Dungan Folktales and Legends is a unique anthology that acquaints English-speaking readers with the rich and captivating folk stories of the Dungans, Chinese-speaking Muslims who fled northwest China for Russian Central Asia after the failure of the Dungan Revolt (1862–1877) against the Manchu-led Qing dynasty. The most comprehensive collection of Dungan folk narratives, available now in English for the first time, this volume features translations of oral narratives collected in the former Soviet Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in the twentieth century, and first published in Dunganskie narodnye skazki i predaniia (1977), which was edited by the internationally renowned Russian sinologist Boris L. Riftin and compiled by his prominent Dungan colleagues Makhmud A. Khasanov and Ilʹias I. Iusupov. The Dungan folk narrative tradition is a vibrant and fascinating tapestry of Chinese, Islamic, and various Central Asian cultural elements.

The present volume is comprised of a chapter introducing the Dungan tale and three chapters containing 78 folk stories organized in the following categories: wonder tales and animal tales; novelistic tales, folk anecdotes, and adventure stories; and legends, historical tales, and narratives. Also included are appendixes, a glossary, an index, the original notes to the texts, and translator’s notes aimed at an English-reading audience. This volume will be of interest to general readers, as well as students and scholars of folklore, ethnography, anthropology, comparative literature, Chinese studies, and Central Asian studies.

Kenneth J. Yin teaches modern languages, literatures, and linguistics at the City University of New York–LaGuardia. His scholarly work centers on the Dungan literature and culture of Central Asia, as well as the Tungus literatures and cultures of North Asia—namely Siberia and the Russian Far East—with a focus on Udege, Nanai, and Evenk. A graduate of Cornell University and Georgetown University, he has received fellowships and awards from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the City University of New York. His book publications include Dungan Folktales and Legends (Peter Lang, 2021) and Mystical Forest: Collected Poems and Short Stories of Dungan Ethnographer Ali Dzhon (Peter Lang, 2023).

The CUNY REEES Kruzhok is a space for scholars in the social sciences and humanities to share research in progress for feedback, with a wider aim of connecting specialists focused on this region within CUNY, New York, and further afield. It is coordinated by Mark Lewis (College of Staten Island/Graduate Center, CUNY), Merrill Sovner (EU Studies Center, Graduate Center, CUNY) and Lukasz Chielminski (Baruch College/CUNY Baccalaureate). It meets on selected Fridays at 12:30 pm ET during the semester. Email cunyreeeskruzhok@gmail.com to join the mailing list or express interest in presenting.


October 13, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT
Event Category:




Lukasz Chielminski
Mark Lewis
Merrill Sovner