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Accepted Paper:

The 'routes of the nation': intersecting trajectories and imaginings of Tibetan migration in northwest China and north India  
Christopher Vasantkumar (Hamilton College)

Paper long abstract:

My paper focuses on the trans-Himalayan peregrinations of Tibetans to and from the Amdo region of northeastern Tibet/northwest China. I am especially interested in the figure of the Tibetan returnee (to China) as it complicates received notions of Tibetan religiosity and Chinese (trans-)nationalism. Drawing on ethnographic research in China and India, I address attitudes towards travel to and from India among Tibetans in Gansu Province, northwest China and reasons for returning to China amongst Tibetan populations in and around Dharamsala. I do so as a means of laying bear the convergences and divergences between PRC and exile Tibetan notions of mobility based belonging (c.f. Anderson's "routes of the nation"). Further, I argue that Tibetan returns occur on two incommensurate levels, one of wealthy businessmen who are feted by the PRC as overseas investors and another less licit terrain in which poor returnees are viewed as threats to Chinese national projects.

Panel W001
A new virtue? Imaginaries and regimes of mobility across the globe
  Session 1