Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Geography

Committee Chair

Sarah J. Halvorson

Commitee Members

Jeffery A. Gritzner, Steven I. Levine


China, geography education, narratives, representations, tourism, Xinjiang


University of Montana


This thesis examines how Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, located in northwest China, is represented in tourism and geographic education literature. The research demonstrates the limited and distorted place narratives of Xinjiang that are promoted by the government-backed tourist enterprise in China for consumption by English language speakers; as well as, the inadequate and uncritical representations of the region currently available to students in the United States. Qualitative content analysis methodology is employed to investigate the narrative representations of Xinjiang contained within tourist brochures, geography textbooks, and regionally appropriate curricular guides. The thesis includes a body of geographic lesson plans pertaining to Xinjiang I created that are informed by the research results. The purpose of this thesis is to move toward a more nuanced understanding of Xinjiang as a dynamic region of global significance, challenge prevailing stereotypes of the region, and strengthen geography literacy, particularly among school aged students.



© Copyright 2010 Michael Church