Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

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Title: Stateless Citizens: Culture, Nation and Identity in the Expanding Tibetan Diaspora
Language of title: English
Author/Creator: Julia Meredith Hess
One Sentence Summary: The dissertation examines this migratory movement and the attendant transformations in expressions of Tibetan identity in diaspora.

Description: Dissertation Abstract: The Tibetan diaspora has expanded dramatically in North America since the passage of the 1990 Immigration Act. The act included legislation that allowed 1,000 Tibetans living in South Asia (India and Nepal) to resettle in the U.S. with immigrant visas. The dissertation examines this migratory movement and the attendant transformations in expressions of Tibetan identity in diaspora. Part One of the dissertation places the expansion of the diaspora in historical and geopolitical context, exploring the range of state policies that have impacted diasporic Tibetans. The author discusses discourses deployed by the Tibetan government-in-exile (a non-state) to articulate the “Tibet issue” in an international arena composed of states. In particular, she examines the slippage between “culture” and “nation” employed by the government-in-exile and Tibetans in general. Discourses about Tibetan identity, culture and nation intersect with state policy in the production of diaspora consciousness which characterizes Tibetan exile identity. Part Two of the dissertation examines the establishment, organization and responses to the Tibetan-U.S. Resettlement Project (TUSRP) when it began in the early 1990s. The author divides the majority of responses to the TUSRP into three categories--the impact on the future of the political movement to gain some measure of autonomy or independence for Tibet, the economic impact of increased migration, and concerns about culture preservation and loss. Part Three of the dissertation, “Tibetans in the United States,” focuses primarily on data collected in the New Mexico “cluster site” of the TUSRP. Tibetans resettled in the U.S. with a perspective on Tibetan identity and culture shaped by formalized schooling in South Asia that steeped them in modernist perspectives of “nation” and “progress.” Tibetan nationalist ideology serves as a strong foundation for their identity as members of a diasporic community. Migration to the West is conceptualized as a patriotic act, enabling individuals to better support the Tibetan cause. Tibetan youth are developing a “cosmopolitan” outlook that emphasizes political activism, global awareness and transnational mobility. Yet, both adults and children express concerns and hopes about the impact of U.S. resettlement on Tibetan identity in the years to come.

Publisher: UMI
Publisher country: United States
Published Date: 2003

Published Date Note: 2003 PhD dissertation for the University of New Mexico

Extent: 404 pp.
Classification: Tibetan and Himalayan -- Society -- Identity Issues -- Tibetan Identity in Exile
Cultural Coverage: Tibet
Temporal coverage: 20th century CE
21st century CE
Language: English
Format: Print media (print or manuscript, including PDFs)
Resource Type: Dissertation
Release Flag: OK for viewing
Date Of Record Creation: 2006-04-06 17:38:41
Date Record Checked: 2006-04-06
Date Last Modified: 2006-05-15 13:04:03
Cumulative Rating: this resource has a 1 star rating
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