Lipsius Building Leiden University

Cleveringaplaats 1, Leiden



30 March - Lecture by Francesca Rosati: Quranic Women’s Schools in China’s Little Mecca

Francesca Rosati, born in Rome, Italy, has being doing research on Women’s Quranis school in Northwestern China for ten years. She got her MA degree in Ethnology at the National Taiwan Cheng-chi University in 2009. In 2015 she was awarded the CEFC Doctoral Mobility Grant to carry out a nine months fieldwork research in the Linxia Huizu Autonomous Prefecture (South Gansu province).


This study is based on the findings of her past six fieldworks, carried out in Linxia Huizu Autonomous Prefecture (South Gansu province), with particular attention paid to Linxia city, also known as “Little Mecca”, over a ten-year time period (2006-2016). It analyses the ways local Muslim women bring together different visions of shari’a orthopraxy – derived from their exclusive affiliation to competing religious denominations (jiaopai menhuan) – within the walls of the Quranic school. The enquiry attempts to demonstrate how this “coalescence” reflects local inter-denominational tensions but also perpetrates ties of coresponsibility versus a culturally alien Other – the secular state – as a strategy for the preservation of Linxia’s Muslim community as a whole, faced with modernisation, rejuvenated ties with the Middle East, and the latest CCP’s policies on Islam.