Joanne Smith Finley joined Newcastle University in January 2000, where she is Reader in Chinese Studies. Her research interests have included the evolution of identities among the Uyghurs of Xinjiang, NW China, and in the Uyghur diaspora; strategies of symbolic resistance in Xinjiang; Uyghur women between Islamic revival and Chinese state securitization of religion; PRC counter-terrorism measures in Xinjiang as state terror; and political “re-education” in Xinjiang as (cultural) genocide. She is author of “Why Scholars and Activists Increasingly Fear a Uyghur Genocide in Xinjiang,” Journal of Genocide Research, 2020 (DOI: 10.1080/14623528.2020.1848109), "Securitization, Insecurity and Conflict in Contemporary Xinjiang: Has PRC Counter-Terrorism Evolved into State Terror?" Central Asian Survey, 2019 (DOI: 10.1080/02634937.2019.1586348), and The Art of Symbolic Resistance: Uyghur Identities and Uyghur-Han Relations in Contemporary Xinjiang (Brill Academic Publishing, 2013); and co-editor of Language, Education and Uyghur Identity in Urban Xinjiang (Routledge, 2015) and Situating the Uyghurs Between China and Central Asia (Ashgate, 2007). Based on her three decades of expertise in Uyghur studies, she writes occasional op-eds for the international media (https://www.chinafile.com/reporting-opinion/viewpoint/now-we-dont-talk-anymore) and gives frequent interviews to investigative journalists, documentary filmmakers, and radio and television broadcasters. She serves as expert country witness in Uyghur asylum cases in the UK, Europe, the US and Canada, and advises legal firms, refugee support organizations, government departments, non-governmental organizations and think tanks.
I am currently writing a full-length monograph on PRC state terrorism in Xinjiang since 2014, with co-author Ondrej Klimes of the Oriental Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences.
In 2022, I have published two book chapters: one on the erasure of Uyghur culture, religion and history from Uyghur primary school textbooks (co-authored with Dilmurat Mahmut, in Michael Clarke's edited volume The Xinjiang Emergency), and the second on Uyghur women and the colonial metaphor of sex (in Community Still Matters: Uyghur Culture and Society in Central Asian Context, edited by Mirsultan, Schluessel and Sulaiman).
In September 2021, I co-organised (with Hanna Burdorf and Nick Megoran) a 3-day “blended” (in-person and virtual) international conference at Newcastle University titled: 'The Xinjiang Crisis: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, Justice'. The full set of Session Recordings from the conference can be viewed on our dedicated YouTube Channel. This conference brought globally leading scholars in Xinjiang/Uyghur, Law and Genocide studies together with international barristers, NGO representatives, human rights advocates, activists, think tank experts and UK politicians.
In 2020, I was invited by Prof A. Dirk Moses to write the Reflection article: 'Why Scholars and Activists Increasingly Fear a Uyghur Genocide in Xinjiang' for the Journal of Genocide Research.
In 2019, I guest-edited a Special Issue for Central Asian Survey, titled 'Securitization, Insecurity and Conflict in Contemporary Xinjiang', which includes my opening article titled 'Has PRC Counter-terrorism in Xinjiang Evolved into State Terror?' and my second contribution titled 'The Wang Lixiong Prophecy: "Palestinization" in Xinjiang and the consequences of Chinese state securitization of religion'.
In 2018-19, I published three online op-eds on China's campaign of political 're-education' and mass internment in Xinjiang for The Asia Dialogue, ChinaFile, and Focus On (Oxford Islamic Studies Online), respectively.
My book chapters on the contestation of space, place and cultural ownership in Xinjiang, as articulated through the rock fusion of Mando-pop singer Dao Lang (Routledge) and on gendered Uyghur proverbs, co-authored with Dilmurat Mahmut (Brill Academic Publishing) were published in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
My second co-edited volume titled Language, Education and Uyghur Identity in Urban Xinjiang was published by Routledge (Studies of Ethnicity in Asia series) in October 2015.
In 2013, I published my monograph The Art of Symbolic Resistance: Uyghur Identities and Uyghur-Han Relations in Contemporary Xinjiang (Leiden: Brill, 2013). This is an ethnographic study of evolving Uyghur identities and ethnic relations over a period of 20 years (from the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union through the 1997 Ghulja disturbances and the 2009 Urumchi riots to the present).
My first co-edited volume titled Situating the Uyghurs Between China and Central Asia was published in 2007 by Ashgate (now Routledge). In 2016, it was re-published in paperback.