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A Tatar Turkist in Chinese Turkistan: Nushirvan Yavshef's travels in Xinjiang, 1914–1917

A Tatar Turkist in Chinese Turkistan: Nushirvan Yavshef’s travels in Xinjiang, 1914–1917

David Brophy

 Among visitors to Xinjiang in the first half of the twentieth century, the name of Nushirvan Yavshef is not the best known, but his writings deserve attention for the unique perspective they offer on local society. Yavshef, a Tatar Muslim from Russia, wrote a series of dispatches from Xinjiang for the Russian Muslim press between 1915 and 1917, totaling over 150 articles. This body of work allows us to ask important questions about the relationship between the Muslims of Russia and of western China. This article seeks to place Yavshef’s writing in the context of ‘Jadidist’ discourse on China and asks what difference the experience of travel made to his social reformist outlook on Xinjiang.

Keywords: Jadidism; journalism; ethnography; Turkism; Central Asia; Xinjiang.