The Contest in Context: From Chaghatay to Rhythm and Rhyme (virtual)

By Haverford College's Hurford Center (other events)

Thursday, September 30 2021 4:30 PM 6:00 PM EST

Join us for an intergenerational roundtable discussion on Uyghur language preservation with rapper Nashtarr and linguistic anthropologist Gülnar Eziz, moderated by social historian Eric Schluessel and Project Liaison Pia Chakraverti-Wuerthwein.

We will explore the work being done by Uyghur scholars to digitize historic texts and keep the language alive through their studies and advocacy, as well as the work of rappers to twist and transform the language: keeping it in the minds and on the tongues of young Uyghurs in China and the diaspora. The conversation will include a Q&A open to the audience.

This event is part of The Contest of the Fruits Exhibits & Events and the The Contest in Context virtual event series. This event will take place virtually via Zoom. A login link will be emailed to you prior to event.

About our featured guests: 

Nashtarr (aka Young Nash) is a Uyghur rapper. His first mixtape Motivation came out in 2019 and was followed by Yanchuqla Tom in 2020. Nashtarr raps in Uyghur and English, collaborating with other Uyghur diaspora rappers and local American MCs. In addition to his rap career, he also designs and produces his own Original Uyghur clothing and merchandise line. He modernized and performed “The Contest of the Fruits” poem, transforming it into a contemporary rap.

Eric Schluessel is an assistant professor of modern Chinese history at the George Washington University and the author of Land of Strangers: The Civilizing Project in Qing Central Asia (Columbia University Press, 2020) and An Introduction to Chaghatay (Maize Books, 2018). He holds a PhD in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University.

Dr. Gülnar Eziz earned her PhD in Linguistic Anthropology at the University of Kansas. Prior to her arrival in the US, she studied at Xinjiang University, where she earned both her BA and her MA degrees. Dr. Eziz was appointed in 2020 as preceptor in Uyghur and East Middle Turkic (Chaghatay) languages in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University.


The Contest of the Fruits takes a nineteenth-century Uyghur allegorical poem as the point of departure for investigations into language, politics, religion, humor, resilience, and resistance in a pluralistic world. It includes a virtual series, publication, new animation work, and exhibition at Haverford’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery by renowned artist collective Slavs and Tatars in partnership with Haverford College’s Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities, Twelve Gates Arts, and the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philadelphia

The Contest of the Fruits exhibit runs from September 10th - December 12, 2021. All exhibits and events are free and open to the public. For full schedule details and locations, visit: you have any questions or issues registering, please email: [email protected] 

The Contest of the Fruits is supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage


Haverford College's Hurford Center