CLER-CCF Bhatt and Wang

Chinese Muslim Heritage Literacy: Reflections on a Recent Research Project

Monday 5th February 2024
Auditorium, The McClay Library


This is a joint event organised by


Dr Ibrar Bhatt is Senior Lecturer in Education & Applied Linguistics at Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland, UK) and was Director of the university’s MSc TESOL programme between 2018-2021. He has active research interests in literacy studies, education, and digital epistemologies. Between 2021-2023 he was the recipient of a research fellowship funded by the Leverhulme Trust for a study on Sino-Muslim heritage literacy in China. He is author of the book ‘A Semiotics of Muslimness in China’ published by Cambridge University Press in the series ‘Elements in Applied Linguistics’.

Heng Wang was a researcher on the Sino-Muslim heritage literacy project, and is co-author of the published article ‘Everyday Heritaging’ (see She is also a teacher of Chinese language and classical Chinese dance, and works at Queen’s Language Centre, the Chinese Community School in Belfast (Northern Ireland), and in her spare time studies Chinese-Islamic calligraphy and Islamic Theology.

In this presentation, Ibrar Bhatt and Heng Wang delve into the intricate connections between the literacies of religious practice, food heritage, and artistic expression within Sino-Muslim communities across China. Drawing from a comprehensive data set of images, artefacts and interviews obtained through a study of Sino-Muslim heritage literacy (funded by the Leverhulme Trust), they examine semiotic material prevalent in Sino-Muslim daily life and heritage practice, such as restaurant signage, religious education, and art work. They discuss how signs of ‘Muslimness’ are displayed and manipulated in both nuanced and diverse ways, with respect to their ties to heritage and religion. Through a commitment to everyday heritage literacy, they illustrate how Sino-Muslim heritage is expressed, constructed, and remembered through various intertwined spheres of social activity.

The talk will also include a display of notable pieces of traditional art collected during fieldwork.

In Pictures

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