Darren Byler is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder and the author of the forthcoming book Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City (Duke University Press 2021). His current research focuses on surveillance infrastructure and state power in China and Southeast Asia.

Byler received his Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington in 2018. He has published research articles in Contemporary Islam, Central Asian Survey, and the Journal of Chinese Contemporary Art, and has contributed essays to volumes on ethnography of Islam in China, transnational Chinese cinema, and travel and representation. He also writes and curates the digital humanities art and politics repository The Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia.

Last Updated: December 21, 2020



‘Because There Were Cameras, I Didn’t Ask Any Questions’

Darren Byler
Sometime in the summer of 2019, Vera Zhou, a young college student from the University of Washington, forgot to pretend that she was from the non-Muslim majority group in China, the Han. At a checkpoint at the mall, she put her ID on the scanner and...



China’s Government Has Ordered a Million Citizens to Occupy Uighur Homes. Here’s What They Think They’re Doing.

Darren Byler
The village children spotted the outsiders quickly. They heard their attempted greetings in the local language, saw the gleaming Chinese flags and round face of Mao Zedong pinned to their chests, and knew just how to respond. “I love China,” the...