Consuming halal food outside from home: Chinese Muslims’ geographies of encounter in urban Guangzhou

Authors: Chen Liu*, Sun Yat-Sen University
Topics: Religion, China, Asia
Keywords: geographies of encounter, equality, religion, Muslim, China
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Balcony M, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This article aims to understand how Chinese Muslims negotiate their religious identities and how they are emplaced and displaced in urban Guangzhou – a global city with multiple religions and ethnicities in south China – through the lens of food consumption in public spheres. Based on narratives from both Chinese Muslims and non-Muslims, this research sheds lights on the geographies of encounters in public Guangzhou. Focusing on daily food practices of Chinese Muslims who are immigrated to Guangzhou from Islamic communities in northwest China consume food in the public, this research elucidates how Muslims use food to sustain their religious identities, how they manage their food practices when eating with Han Chinese and how such daily food practices exclude them from the mainstream Han Chinese culture in relation to wider socio-political issues. The key argument of this research indicates that public food spaces can on the one hand enable the social interactions between Chinese Muslims and non-Muslims, and on the other hand gain new meanings through the encounter of these two groups. This research contributes to the geographies of encounters through an intersectional and interactional analysis based on both narratives from the majority and minority groups. Thus, this article not only provides an empirical case study which displays how Chinese Muslims are emplaced and displaced in the dominant Han Chinese social and cultural context, but also indicates that daily encounters in the public are multi-sited and are accomplished through the socio-spatial interactions of different bodies and practices.

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