It’s been a while since I posted so I thought I’d write a short post to update everyone on the Lhakar kind of day I had today. The Ottawa Tibetan community, although very… Continue reading
Harris brings back to life documents and images from a range of colonial archives, and includes accounts and fictions published by British officers, ethnographers, soldiers and Asia-Tibet enthusiasts of that time to piece together how the myth of the exotic Tibet-an came into existence in the West. Her analysis is based on exploring the discursive formation of how the West came to imagine Tibet and its inhabitants.
What does an ethnographic discourse on the invisibility of a colonial empire in the 21st century look like? What does that invisibility contribute to, or rather take away from, the experiences of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet? In this post, I examine the historical and contemporary discourses on Tibet that frame Tibet as either not colonized or about human rights, which, I argue, silences Tibetan aspirations for Nationhood. Aside from contextualizing Tibetan subjectivities, I contribute to the ongoing discourse on how ethnographic narratives can re-construct the invisibility of existing colonial empires and justify their presence as a given right rather than foreign.
For the past month, as the number of self-immolations climbed, my adviser and I sat down several times, trying to figure out activities we can do to highlight the situation better here at the University I’m currently studying at. Then last week, I saw the video campaign with messages to world leaders launched by SFT spreading in the web-sphere.
Ben Hillman–a Senior Lecturer at the Crawford School of public policy, Australian National University–wrote an article called “China’s many Tibets: Diqing as a model for ‘development with Tibetan characteristics?’” (2010). He details the economic success, through the government-funded tourist industry, of Shangri-La, a Tibetan town in Kham, as a model that the Chinese authorities can follow for “China’s many other Tibets”. However, in his eager attempt to support his argument for Shangri-La as a successful model, Hillman fails to acknowledge China’s historical role in that region, the popular resistance that occurred before and during the time period he covers, or further analysis of local involvement in the tourist industry.