Studying Tibetan Identity

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


    This chapter explores the various ways in which Tibetan identity in contemporary China has been studied and understood, paying close attention to how historical circumstances and evolving trends in the social sciences have shaped different perspectives on the subject. The focus is on the available Anglophone literature, but includes references to translations of Tibetan and Chinese sources. The chapter covers debates about (i) Tibetan nationhood that emerged in the pre-People’s Republic of China period and intensified following the PRC’s annexation of Tibetan territories in 1949–51, (ii) the ‘mythical Tibet’ literature that accompanied the nationalist discourse, (iii) the post-colonial literature of the 1980s and 1990s that sought to demystify Tibetan identity, (iv) the post-2000s critical Tibetan studies literature that interrogates the meaning of ‘Tibetan-ness’ and explores the relationship between ethnic identity and other forms of identity, including gender, religion, language and locality and (v) the ethnic awakening literature that examines the changing contours of Tibetan identity and cultural life following the recent wave of political protests. The chapter begins with a brief discussion of the different theoretical approaches used in the study of ethnic identity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe SAGE Handbook of Contemporary China
    Editors Weiping Wu, Mark W. Frazier
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherSage Publications
    ISBN (Print)9781473948945
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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