Performing ‘Realness’ in a Transnational Ethnic Imaginary : Starring Dilraba on Post-2010 Chinese TV

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-354
Journal / PublicationCommunication, Culture & Critique
Issue number3
Online published23 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes


This research examines the rising and televisual mediation of Xinjiang ethnic minority female celebrities within Han-centric China’s heteropatriarchal, nationalistic cultural imaginaries in the post-2010 years. Specifically, my analysis focuses on one of the most popular Uyghur female TV celebrities in China, Dilraba Dilmurat. By identifying a popular cultural discourse of “transnational ethnic imaginary” surrounding her celebrity images, I explore the ways in which her geo-cultural-ethnic-gender identity has been capitalized on by the Chinese TV industry and subjectively performed by herself within official and popular fantasies about a global, harmonious China. Ultimately, I argue that her success as a TV star in the post-2010 years exposes the artificiality and contingency of the self-imagined dimorphism of the dominant Han Chinese and ethnic minorities within the party-state’s interethnic, transnational, heteropatriarchal-structured fantasies about a global China and a homogenous Chineseness. © Oxford University Press

Research Area(s)

  • Chineseness, ethnicity, ethnic realness/reality, female stardom, TV