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Himalayan Borders and Borderlands : Mobility, State Building, and Identity Amburgey, Emily; Binks, James; Gurung, Chulthim; Tso, Bendi 2018-06-01

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 1 Himalayan Borders and Borderlands: Mobility, State Building, and Identity This review article engages with recent ethnographic research on ‘borders’ and ‘borderlands’ in the Himalayan region. We examine how recent scholarship published primarily between 2012-2018 engages with borderland theory as it intersects with issues of state building, ethnicity, language, religion, and tourism. As the scholarly canon moves away from disparate areas studies approaches, this paper investigates how Himalayan scholarship views borders as comprising a multivariate geographical, cultural, and political network of history and relationships undergoing continual transformation. As emerging scholars from both within and outside the Himalaya, we separate the article into four sub-sections that each connect to our respective interests. Our intention is not to propose an alternative conceptual framework or set of terminologies to borderland studies, but to bring together various inter-disciplinary approaches that view borders as sites of continuity and discontinuity, with the power to transform livelihoods for the better and at times perpetuate forms of violence and inequality. Keywords: borders, borderlands, Himalaya, mobility, state building, identity                            2 Introduction How do Himalayan borders become contested spaces of continuity and discontinuity in relation to the borderland communities that occupy them, and the non-inhabitants that relate to them? How does this tension link to ongoing projects of mobility, state formation, and identity politics? This article reviews recent ethnographic research on Himalayan borders and borderlands surrounding state building, development, tourism, ethnicity, language, and religion, with a focus on  material published between 2012-2018. We critically engage with notions of ‘borders’ and ‘borderlands’, to explore how recent scholarship has engaged with changing borderland theory as it reflects on Himalayan place and personhood. We address how political borders within the Himalayan regions of Nepal, China, India, and the Tibetan zones that traverse all of these contemporary nation-states have become increasingly militarized and reified, yet simultaneously remain as spaces of fluidity and change. In doing so, we argue that Himalayan scholarship has shifted from a disparate area studies approach where borders separated inquiry to a more cohesive ethnographic region in which borders themselves have become an analytical site of connection between different scholarly traditions. As such, reading Himalayan border literatures may help show how borderlands scholarship can reshape broader frameworks for academic inquiry.  We first address how the two concepts of borders and borderlands have been used within the Himalaya and beyond. We review a series of theoretical frameworks related to continuity and discontinuity to explore how political, economic, and social projects related to borders transform local livelihoods, and at times perpetuate forms of violence and inequality. We define the concept of ‘Himalaya’ in relation to borders and borderlands to argue that although global development has intensified flows of commodities, people, and knowledge across transnational borders, these  3 changes also work to reinforce contested spaces of immobility. We reject the notion that that there is an inherent isomorphism of space, place, and culture (Gupta & Ferguson 1992) within specific territorial boundaries to instead view borders as a multivariate geographical, cultural, and political network of history and relationships undergoing continual transformation.    Our paper takes borders as sites of friction and transformation through an in-depth analysis of four domains that are here presented heuristically as separate, but which in reality are all mutually intertwined: 1) ethnicity: the transformation of ethnic identities in relation to state building projects; 2) language: how shifting spatial demarcations have added additional layers of complexity to the sociolinguistic landscape; 3) religion: how Tibetan Buddhism intersects with geopolitical changes and markers of identity; and 4) transnational mobilities: how outsiders’ interactions with Himalayan spaces produce spatial and conceptual edges that may be identified as an extra-Himalayan border writ large across which affective and infrastructural transformation takes place. Finally, we explore how and why the Himalaya provides a productive geopolitical context to examine instances of continuity and discontinuity, social change, and global development in reference to border dynamics.  This article came together over the course of one academic year (2017-2018) as the authors took part in a graduate seminar led by Dr. Sara Shneiderman on Ethnography of Tibet and the Himalaya at the University of British Columbia (UBC), in Vancouver, Canada. This course was newly created to bring together students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds whose work is grounded in different thematic approaches to and regions of the Himalaya. These backgrounds correspond to each sub-section within this paper and include ethnic identities and mobility in Nepal and India  4 (Emily Amburgey), linguistic identities along the Sino-Tibetan borders (Bendi Tso), Tibetan Buddhism (Chulthim Gurung), and tourism and pilgrimage in India and Nepal (James Binks).1   We collectively acknowledge our varied backgrounds, as scholars from both within and outside the Himalayan region, and take advantage of our distinct positionalities, research agendas, and personal commitments to different areas within Himalayan studies to shift notions and discourses pertaining to borderland studies. Our academic encounter with each other at UBC—as students and scholars from Nepal, Tibetan areas of China, Canada and the US—itself manifests the changing nature of both ‘the Himalaya’, and scholarly approaches to it, today.  We acknowledge the limitations of both time and space in shaping this article’s scope. It is not a comprehensive review of all relevant literature, but focuses on English-language book-length ethnographic accounts published between 2012-2018 in Europe and North America about the Himalayan regions of Nepal, India, and Tibetan parts of China. Developed through collective conversation that builds upon our shared experiences and diverse areas of expertise from Anthropology and Asian Studies, this article contributes to broader debates over borderland studies as well as to a growing body of Himalayan scholarship.   Theoretical Framework: Locating Himalayan Borderlands  In the sections that follow we outline cross-cutting theoretical tools to analyze the ways in which ethnic, linguistic, religious, and transnational conceptualizations of the Himalaya are produced and reproduced, how they vary across time and space, where they converge and diverge, and what this  5 means for the future of Himalayan scholarship. We suggest a transition away from disaggregated ‘area studies’ approaches to an integrated set of analytical concepts that do justice to this unique region of study. To do so, we put into conversation recent publications in anthropology that focus on the multilateral, nested, and long-term relationships among Himalayan inhabitants, non-inhabitants and their shared socio-political, ethnohistorical, ecological, and cosmological networks. The different theories we utilize, of connectivity and disconnectivity (Harris 2013; Murton 2016) and multiple-state spaces (Saxer and Zhang 2017; Smyer Yü and Michaud 2017) exist on a multi-dimensional plane within which vectors of movement direct global and local engagement.  We acknowledge the richness of scholarship on this topic upon which many contemporary understandings of the Himalaya and South Asia are indebted. Scholars who have approached Himalayan borderlands as a space where multiple civilizations have met, interacted, encountered, and clashed throughout the centuries are important foundations in studies of conflict, identity, and state-building in this region. For example, James Fisher categorizes the Indo-Tibetan interface of the Himalayan region as the “fringe region”, “neither-fish-nor-fowl contact zone” (1978, 1) and “zipper” where the South and Central Asian civilization have met (1978, 2). However, the state effect in shaping this region was underspecified in Fisher’s conceptualization (Shneiderman 2013, Murton 2019). Other scholars have built on these ideas to understand the Himalayan region as an ungoverned place where state control has been limited. For example, building on van Schendel’s idea of Zomia (2002), James Scott (2009) conceptualizes Zomia as a place which is not only characterized by linguistic, cultural and ethnic fluidity and diversity (2009, 13-22), but also as a “shatter zone” where people escape from state control (2009, 7). Acknowledging the immense  6 diversity of Zomia and the fact that nonstate spaces no longer exist (Smyer Yü and Michaud 2017), Shneiderman (2010) further advocates that Zomia-thinking is useful in helping us reconceptualize the Himalayan region to see how multiple states formations have left markers on local communities and the regional history.   Recent scholarship on the Himalayan region has moved away from the disaggregated area studies approach to call for understanding this region as a center of its own which has its own multilayered peripheries (Saxer and Zhang 2017). For example, by conceptualizing the Gyalrong community on the Sino-Tibetan borderland as the “convergence zone”, Jinba’s (2013, 2017) ethnographic research highlights local communities’ agency to engage with the state and mediate power dynamics on the ground. A series of recent edited volumes (Horstmann, Saxer, and Rippa 2018; Saxer and Zhang 2017; Smyer Yu and Michaud 2017) take these provocations further, collectively providing a foundation for our review. Placing these and other anthropological paradigms in conversation with one another, we posit that the transformation of Himalayan borders along with broader economic and political changes in South and East Asia have created an interesting moment to examine new ways of thinking about Zomia-like paradigms, and what it means to live in and relate to these regions.   Our focus on borders and their borderlands emerges out of the central place of the simultaneously divisive and connective powers of borders for Himalayan communities, which form the basis for many of the ethnographies reviewed in this article. Borders demarcate ‘self’ from ‘other’, ‘insider’ from ‘outsider’, while simultaneously standing as a staging point for diverse peoples, ideologies, and goods to come together. Earlier notions of ‘galactic polity’ that are derived from the concept  7 of ‘mandala’ (Tambiah 1977) suggest that powers borne of central structures diminish and eventually overlap with each other over geographic distance from nodal centers, to obfuscate two-dimensional center-periphery paradigms. Instead, we perceive the Himalaya in an ethnographic sense that pertains both to the national and supranational structures of domination and recognize the substantial sites of resistance and transformation emerging from within and between local contexts. However, scholarship on borders has for some time now questioned simple geographical containers based around contiguous and demarcated spatial arrangements (van Schendel 2002) to refocus on a larger “geography of processes” that go “far beyond the borderlands at stake while being right at the heart of [borders’] formation” (Saxer and Zhang 2017, 7). The ethnographic materials reviewed in this article depict these ‘processes’, or ‘border work’ (Reeves 2014), wherein abstract or conceptual borders are made real as they are experienced acutely through physical and affective interactions near, across, and between Himalayan borders.   Indeed, the focus on process lays bare the paradox of the border-land which suggests a territorial fixity at an edge. The everyday border work of maneuvering the obstacles, opportunities, materialities, and ideologies that borders can present and represent – be they linguistic, religious, administrative, economic, or geographic borders – constructs mobilities that necessarily transgress two-dimensional, bounded ‘lands’. Although new technologies do not uniformly ‘demolish distances’ (Scott 2009, xii), they do complicate existing regimes of overlapping, intersectional subjectivities to an extent that bordering or ‘neighboring’ “entails both a geographical reality of living in proximity, and a flexible construction of social relations that can be stretched across time, space, and distance” (Saxer and Zhang 2017, 23). Indeed, movement is a lens through which borders are crossed and then experienced, and so we find use in the geographic term ‘Friction of  8 Distance’ (see Scott 2009, Chapter 2) that sees terrain not as a constant plane, but as a vector upon which subsistence and movement are differentially navigable depending on the capacities and possibilities of  infrastructure and people’s ability to utilize it. Furthermore, ‘Friction of Terrain’ is useful beyond movement as an analytical tool to understand the challenges of subsistence itself, whether in a state’s center (Scott 2009) or far from one’s home.  The borderland areas of this article are situated at demarcation points between countries, states, districts, and geographic phenomena (rivers, mountains, valleys). The ‘Himalaya’ may be roughly defined as composed of the communities or polities who wholly or primarily inhabit and govern part of the contiguous stretch of land above 300m that lies north of the Indo-Gangetic plains, east of the Karakoram range, south of the Tarim Basin, and west of the central Chinese plains. This includes all of Nepal and Bhutan; the Indian Union Territories, states and districts of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir,2 Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Darjeeling district, and Arunachal Pradesh; political Tibet (Goldstein 1998, 4-5), namely the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) of China, and the broader zone of “ethnographic”, or cultural Tibet, including the Tibetan regions of the Chinese provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan (Smyer Yü and Michaud 2017, 17). However, as we noted earlier, borders are not only manifest at once in physical places, but in the subjective experiences of those who cross and have crossed them.   Building upon previous scholarship, we recognize the Himalayan region as a ‘multiple-state space’ (Shneiderman 2010): an integral Himalayan whole replete with border contentions, and moments of discontinuity of livelihoods, never bounded in time or place. Meanwhile, we conceptualize the Himalayan region as the center of itself, rather than a place where two or more civilizations  9 clashed. In doing so, we hope to reveal the heterogeneous aspects of people’s lives as well as to reveal their agency of engaging, negotiating, interacting, resisting with multifaceted power dynamics. Therefore, we do not ignore communities such as Tibetans-in-exile in southern India for whom bordered spaces are distant, yet instrumental in their construction of identity. Similarly, by defining a common Himalayan region writ large it is possible to identify a new border separating ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ places and persons, whether in physical habitation or cultural practice and identity. In the final section of this article, we consider how those from the ‘outside’ conceive of and interact with this extra-Himalayan border.   Acknowledging the long history of anthropological literature beginning with explorers and colonial officers to present day international scholarly collaborations whose work has carved out a robust and growing site of study, we intend for this review article to be a useful reference and space of dialogue within and beyond the academy that “treats space, region, and area not as trait-based, fixed geographical containers of culture, ethnicity, and identity but rather as variables of socio-political spatiality” (Smyer Yü and Michaud 2017,  17). We hope to problematize the use of terms like ‘massif’, ‘regions’, ‘borders’ ‘borderlands’, ‘zones’, and ‘areas’ while at the same time acknowledging that we are limited by language and it is often through these same terms that the ‘Himalaya’ is conceptually understood. In doing so, we examine the real time ruptures that occur when the restructuring of livelihoods and territories disrupt meanings of place, practice, and belonging.   The Transformation of Himalayan Development, Ethnic Identities, and Belonging   10 How do borderland communities challenge notions of ethnic homogeneity, and simplistic views of state-society relationships, which imply that national identity must match a singular political one? This sub-section explores how administrative borders within the Himalayan regions of Nepal, China’s TAR, and India intersect with state building processes, particularly district restructuring, road construction and trade relations. Building upon ethnographic studies from various scholars (Harris 2013; Murton 2016; Yeh 2013), we analyze how development is intimately linked with politically motivated projects of mobility and containment, and show that these processes condition state-society relationships. We link this discussion to the transformation of ethnic identities both within and between Himalayan borderlands (Shneiderman 2015; McGranahan 2016, 2018), to argue that although global development has intensified flows of commodities, people, and knowledge across transnational borders, these changes also work to reinforce spaces of immobility, particularly for transborder communities.  In line with what sociologist Richard Jenkins has argued for ethnicity, political borders are imagined but they are by no means imaginary (2002). Jenkins’ research in post-soviet states shows how the word ‘ethnicity’ and other markers of “identification—similarity and difference perpetually feeding back on, and emerging out of, each other -- is massively consequential, both in our mundane everyday individual experience and in the historical, social construction of human collectivities” (2002, 118). This frame of analysis links particularly well with our own argument that ethnicity and borders are in fact deeply affective, continuously changing, and contextually dependent. In each of the Himalayan regions we discuss in this section, issues of misrepresentation and conflict have a long history as shifting government borders have added layers of complexity to both the politics and embodiment of ethnicity. As political ecologist Emily Yeh (2013)  11 documents in her book, Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development, the supposed ‘gift’ of Chinese development projects in Tibet have served as a catalyst of marginalization. The Chinese state’s control over movement and space have served to consolidate centralized Chinese power, while fostering a sense of precarity and indebtedness among Tibetan communities. Therefore, the politics of identity and development are intimately and visibly performed through the everyday demonstrations of nationalism and ethnicity that are no less real than the political borders that surround them.  Infrastructural Development and Economic Relations  In Geographical Diversions: Tibetan Trade, Global Transactions (2013), Tina Harris looks at transborder trade relations in the Himalayan regions of Tibet, Nepal, and India to show how ‘everyday’ trading experiences connect to much larger macro level economic processes. In doing so, she discovers that different forms of mobility and immobility generate diversions that restrict and “produce geographies and histories of trade” (Harris 2013, 4). Harris argues that through the dynamics of movement and fixity, boundaries of nation-state and ethnic groups as ‘top-down versus bottom-up’ or ‘global versus local’ do not adequately capture the constantly shifting levels and boundaries of trading activities that both condition and are conditioned by competing social relationships at a local level. Resisting simplistic readings of globalization and transnationalism that compress notions of time and space, Harris shows how depictions of the Himalayan plateau as ‘timeless’ or ‘isolated’ contradict the fact that cross-border trade routes have existed in this part of the world for centuries, each with their own nested histories of disruptions.   12 A complementary study by political geographer, Galen Murton (2016), focuses on recent road construction in Mustang, Nepal. Murton argues that the recent construction of transportation infrastructure has created new avenues of control for the Nepali state, exacerbating existing social hierarchies and inequalities. Murton’s approach to thinking about infrastructural development as a tension between mobility and containment shows how state building processes condition local agency and reinforce socio-economic stratifications (Murton 2016, 148). As similarly noted above, Murton and Harris speak to this issue of how national state-making projects such as cross border trade or the construction of a bridge both increase and complicate existing power structures and identity politics on the ground. Both ethnographers insightfully point to the negotiations that take place within the center-periphery paradigm, between state actors and local communities, which enable new forms of mobility, identity, and entrepreneurship to emerge.    Ethnic Identities, Belonging, and Mobility  A key theme of the above ethnographic work is the concept of marginality vis-à-vis state power, and how this generalized way of thinking about communities on the periphery of the state ignores instances of local agency. For example, Tenzin Jinba argues in his book, In the Land of the Eastern Queendom: The Politics of Gender and Ethnicity on the Sino-Tibetan Border (2013), that minority populations use their status to construct histories and practices in response to the state, and enact certain collective identities in relation to changing circumstances. Jinba situates the Suopowa community, an ethnic group living along the Tibetan Plateau in Western China’s Danba County, within multiple scales of national, regional, and local politics that change the way individuals identify as Tibetan or Chinese citizens. Jinba’s analysis shows how individuals are able to use their  13 geopolitical positioning along a borderland, or “convergence zone”, to navigate state politics for the benefit of their communities even when that means taking a stance against the local and so-called corrupt elite of their own community, or declaring opposition to other Tibetan communities fighting for independence. Jinba creatively uses the instance of the fight for the Queendom title as way to elaborate on how communities position themselves both within and outside of state control: within as dutiful Chinese citizens, but outside as separate agents with a unique language and history of their own.    Carole McGranahan’s piece, Refusal and the Gift of Citizenship (2016), takes a different angle to explore how citizenship works as a claim, a status, a right, or a gift depending up on the socio-political context in which it is situated. For Tibetan refugees, McGranahan argues that the refusal to claim citizenship in India is a “means of asserting a right to sovereignty, or producing a state history and a subject-body...” (338). In other words, refusal in this context is to hope for a different future, and a different Tibet. Although it is a contested debate whether exiled Tibetans were formally offered citizenship in India or Nepal, to make this claim of refusal is enough to posit their independence through their embodied senses of place that are neither tethered nor limited to a particular geographical or national location.3   Connected to these debates around agency, identity, and mobility is Shneiderman’s ethnographic work Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India (2015). Shneiderman’s work with the Thangmi communities of Nepal and India show that circular migration between the two countries constitutes a core part of Thangmi senses of identity and belonging. As Shneiderman states, belonging is “produced on both sides of the border, but neither set of experiences is  14 complete without the other…’Thangminess’ is produced in a synthetic process through which diverse individuals….enact difference pieces of the transnational puzzle…” (Shneiderman 2015, 107). Thus, ethnicity should be seen as something that is not only produced vis-à-vis the state (Scott 2009) or neoliberal market forces (Comaroff and Comaroff 2009), but through every day ritualized actions that are both embedded in Thangmi senses of selfhood, as well as oriented towards securing formal recognition within the national rubrics of Nepal and India (Shneiderman 2015). Bringing together these two aspects of identity and ethnicity, set within broader socio-political historical contexts, the transborder migratory routes of the Thangmi community between Nepal and India highlight the complexities of borderlands and those whose identities are certainly not ‘fixed’.   We argue that although the conceptualization of communities as an isomorphism of space, place, and culture (Gupta & Ferguson 1992) has been extensively rejected throughout the social sciences, such assumptions continue to animate much state policy and community behavior in the real world. Recognizing the revived importance of ethnicity, recent ethnographic works approach the topic of identity, territory, and history as a dialectic process that produces, rather than defines, instances of mobility and immobility. Viewing borders and borderland communities in this way, uncovers the uneven trajectories of globalization, and the political and social implications that terms like ‘convergence zone’ wield. Rather than viewing border regions as messy entanglements of culture and politics, scholarly work that acknowledges the agency and performativity of local communities shows how simplistic notions of borderland communities as ‘peripheral’ to state control fall short of recognizing the vital role they play in mediating transnational social, political, and economic engagements. Although Himalayan regions are certainly not the only examples of these global  15 transborder flows, the region is a helpful context in which to view the strategic interconnectedness of borderland communities and the histories of cross border mobility and immobility that characterize many mountainous regions across the world.   Linguistic Borders in the Himalayan Region  Language and its relation to the politics of identity have remained an important theme in the ethnography of the Himalayan region over time. This section aims to contextualize the idea of borders within the linguistic domain by considering how people’s language practices are embedded in their social relations. In doing so, we hope to unveil how nation-state construction and consolidation continue to shape the Himalayan region through the discourse and practice of language-ethnicity and language-nationalism isomorphism, referring to the practice of mapping language onto one’s ethnic and/or national identity. We also examine how people respond to state-initiated and fueled discourses to explore how the vitality of linguistic fluidity resolves the seeming contradiction between contexts of both globalization and nationally-specific ethnic revivals across the Himalayan region. Finally, we point out that socioculturally and geopolitically constructed linguistic borders have material consequences for millions of Himalayan residents, compelling us to think carefully about the implications of implementing a scholarly framework that calls for awareness and advocacy about linguistic diversity for communities on the ground.   The Process of Bordering   16 Recent scholarship indicates that conceptualizing linguistic borders as coterminous with geographic, political, and ethnic borders has become a common practice asserted by states as well as ethnic minority elites in the Himalayan region. Such language-group isomorphism emphasizes the boundedness of borders in contributing to an imagined homogenous linguistic bounded community where people speak the same language and share the same identity, thus, demarcating self from other in seemingly simple terms.   In today’s Himalayan region, national languages such as Chinese and Nepali, as the dominant languages and lingua francas, have been strongly promoted within their respective states to inspire the imagination of a linguistically homogeneous, culturally and politically bounded community amongst its citizens (Bendi Tso 2019; Guneratne 2002; Roche 2017; Stirr 2017). One thing worth noting is that such practice is not limited to language per se. Certain types of sonic art and oral expression can also be represented as symbols of a nation. For example, Anna Stirr’s ethnomusicological ethnography, Singing Across Divides: Music and Intimate Politics in Nepal (2017) shows how dohori, a form of dialogic singing, was constructed as a Nepali tradition with the state’s support in Panchayat-era in 1980s so that the image of Nepal as a unified country with its cultural diversity could be maintained through popular cultural practice.   Nation-states as “flexible identity-framing devices” interact with the formation of ethnicity (Shneiderman 2015, 41). In today’s Himalayan region, ethnotaxonomic practices are very much centered around language’s role of signifying ethnic boundaries. In the Yunnan Province of China, treating language “as a surrogate for minzu (ethnic) identity” was the guideline of the China’s Ethnic Classification Project carried out in the 1950s (Mullaney 2011, 43). Later, with the state’s  17 careful management and intervention, language became a tool to index linguistic territory and territorialize ethnic minority communities. In the Tibetan areas of China, only in places designated as Tibetan autonomous areas could Tibetan language and its speakers enjoy the state’s support, as Gerald Roche (2018) shows. Linguistic differences subsequently became naturalized as ethnic differences. Thus, linguistic erasure and purism is favored by speakers after 50 years of China’s ethnicity naturalization project (Bendi Tso and Turin, 2019). In the Northeast Tibetan Plateau, a “super-diverse” linguistic area which “consists of a verity of social groups with different plurilingual repertoires and distinct translanguaging praxis” (Roche 2017, 15), Mongghul speakers erased the Chinese and Tibetan languages from their song lyrics. As a result, only Mongghul language was kept in the presentation of song texts, a case that resonates with Stirr’s analysis of dohori in Nepal.  All of these ethnographic studies indicate that on the one hand, assigning language in a one-on-one fashion to individual ethnic and/or national identities helps secure linguistic borders, which are clearly intertwined with political borders, reflecting states’ increasing control over borderland lives across the Himalayan region. On the other hand, such processes always involve linguistic erasure and linguistic homogenization, which limit language’s expansion among new speakers and creative adaptation to their circumstances.  Transgressing the Border  From the above discussion, we can see that there has been a trend of attaching language to a singular identity fueled by ethnic classification and state-building projects, and asserted by cultural  18 and political elites in the Himalayan region. Such trends further indicate that the Himalayan region is not a place where people are free of state governance, perhaps contrary to popular imaginings of Shangri-La. Instead, today’s nation-state construction process is ever more vigorous. Smyer Yü and Michaud (2017) further argue that the effect of state formation in shaping the region and people’s agency in engaging, mediating, interacting and resisting the multifaceted and multilayered power dynamics should be examined and theorized. This understanding of the Himalayan region is particularly important in that it encourages scholars to conceptualize the Himalayan region as the center of its own instead of the peripheries of multiple states. In the case of language, while mapping language on various borders at once provides the linguistic capital for people to mobilize themselves within newly developed and enriched linguistic ‘markets’, it also affects and disrupts the language transmission and formation of speakers’ identity. Therefore, it is important to examine how people respond to such mapping, and problematize the limitations and consequences of such state and elite practice in today’s Himalayan region, which is a site of fluid border crossing and linguistic mixture.  At a global level, due to rapid globalization, English as an “anti-territorial” language is welcomed and used in the Himalayan region (Turin 2014, 391). Turin (2014) has observed that English is being used in the educational domain in Nepal and Sikkim. Similar to the situation in Nepal and Sikkim, at Minzu University of China, English is a required course for all college students regardless of their ethnicities, as Miaoyan Yang shows in Learning to Be Tibetan: The Construction of Ethnic Identity at Minzu University in China (Yang 2017). For the Monguor community, as mentioned above, rather than simply using the local Mongghul language, English is also used to present song texts so that international audiences can be engaged more thoroughly  19 across international boundaries (Roche 2017). This dynamic between local cultural forms and outside interactions with them, as playing out across the extra-Himalayan borders identified in the introduction to this article, will be taken up further in the final section. The anti-territorial nature of a hegemonic language like English works to transcend linguistic boundaries and further complicates local linguistic landscapes.     At the level of ethnic identity production within individual nation-states, the isomorphic language and ethnicity paradigm is not always consistent, and the paradigm is challenged by people’s daily language practices and their sense of linguistic belonging. In Nepal, what unites the Tharu community is not the language but Tharus’ niche within the local and national political economy. In other words, the formation of Tharu ethnic identity was centered on the land issues in the Terai instead of a shared language (Guneratne 2002). In Sikkim, people’s daily practices also change the language-border paradigm due to migration, intermarriage, and institutional recognition and support, where people do not attach great importance to the role played by language in defining their identity (Turin 2014). In China, even though Tibetan students at the Minzu University of China are all officially identified as Tibetans by the Chinese state, their previous Tibetan language proficiencies as shaped by family and pre-university experiences largely determine their Tibetanness and their access to Tibetan membership on the ground (Yang 2017). All of these rich ethnographic details indicate that language and ethnicity are not always congruent, and people’s daily language practices challenge the salient socio-politically constructed language and border paradigms. The ethnographic studies discussed here work to loosen the tie between the language and essentialized notions of identity, and move from the discourse framed by what states and elites advocate to that of people’s daily language practice.  20   At the level of ethnic consciousness, the linguistic fluidity and mixture that once defined the Himalayan region is still very much vital and alive today. In Sera Tibetan monastery in southern India, Lempert suggests that the reformation of violent practices, namely “from reprimand to verbal argument”, reflects the role played by language in transgressing cultural boundaries between exile Tibetans and the West (2012, 10). This is because Tibetan Buddhism is often represented as nonviolent and such shift indicates that monks are being cultivated into liberal subjects as expected by the Western liberal democratic entities which ultimately help them transgress cultural boundaries and receive Western approval and aid. In Nepal, the singing of dohori songs gives singers the potential to move “across social boundaries between clans, ethnic groups, castes and classes” and create a sense of intimacy (Stirr 2017, 13). In the Thangmi community, along with their crossing border experiences, Thangmi linguistic borrowings and religious syncretism complete their ethnic identity and shape their Thangminess (Shneiderman 2010, 2015).  Languages are mapped on or by the geographic, ethnic and national border in today’s Himalayan region. We conceptualize such mapping as a result of states’ continuous construction and revival of ethnic consciousness within the context of economic globalization (cf. Comaroff and Comaroff 2009). At the same time, we argue that people’s daily practices continue to challenge the established language-group categories, which offers insights into people’s affect, belonging, and their social relations. We also argue that linguistic border crossing is still pervasive in this region due to constant multidimensional interactions among communities. Finally, we suggest that  21 attention should be paid to how these socio-politically constructed borders have a real effect on people’s linguistic, cultural and socio-political livelihood.  Borderlands and Buddhism  The previous section has shown how language intersects with ethnicity in the Himalayan borderlands, and also begins to point towards its entanglements with religion. Geographical significance and ethnic identities are two vital aspects through which Tibetan Buddhism’s influence can also be explored in the greater Himalaya region. In this section, we consider how Tibetan Buddhism has impacted ethnic identity and religious alliance amongst Himalayan inhabitants. However, notwithstanding recognition of the region’s significance in Buddhist cosmology and its people’s ‘sacredness’ which permeates popular perception, we argue that the very affiliation with Tibetan Buddhism designates its followers to second class citizenship within contemporary nation-state forms, thus marginalizing members of this religious group across the borders of all of the countries in which they live.   Numerous ethnographic studies have been conducted in the Himalayan regions of India, Nepal and Tibet examining the region’s geopolitical and sociocultural forces, including the modern construction of borders and borderlands. However, a sustained analysis of the impact of Tibetan Buddhism in the Himalayan regions has been peripheral to these discussions. This is ironic due to the central role that scholarship on Tibetan Buddhism has occupied in the study of the region as a whole; it is now time to bring this older trajectory into conversation with the new work on borderlands. Here we seek to bring the role of Tibetan Buddhism in the Himalayan regions along  22 the Sino-Nepal border to the forefront and discuss how it adapts to changing environments that create a challenge for borderland peoples.   Indistinct Identity  The word ‘Tibetan’ is used by many scholars as a metonym to identify Himalayan ethnic groups who are citizens of the contemporary nation-state of Nepal. This identification creates complications for the Himalayan citizens of Nepal, by isolating them further from the central administration of the Nepali state (cf. Shneiderman 2013, Murton 2019). Therefore, we must recognize that such Himalayan ethnic groups such as Dolpopa or Mustangi have distinctive histories from those who identify as ‘Tibetan’. In Tashi Tewa Dolpo’s article “We’re no Tibetans” (2014), he argues against the common misinterpretation of Dolpopas as Tibetan: “the Dolpo people, who are living in the seven village development committees of Dolpa district and have their own culture, cannot be generalized as Tibetan, as is frequently done by most foreigners as well as their own Nepali state”.4  We concur that it would be beneficial for Himalayan inhabitants of Nepal if the Nepali state acknowledged them geopolitically and ethnically as one of Nepal’s diverse communities of citizens, rather than as ‘Tibetan’ per se.   The ways in which Tibetan Buddhism spread across the Himalayan borderlands are deeply intertwined with state formation in these regions. For instance, Geoff Childs’ ethnography of the Nubri Valley, Himalayan Diary, identified the village with several classifications from the perspective of Tibetan Buddhism: a Tibetan society, Nubri society and a Himalayan society (2004, 5). In reality, the village he describes is located within Nepal. He describes it as an, “ethnically  23 Tibetan village of Sama, a remote Himalayan settlement in northern Nepal’s Nubri Valley” (Childs 2004, 7). A similar case is seen in Charles Ramble’s book The Navel of the Demoness about Mustang (Ramble 2008). He starts the book by suggesting, “It could be said that Nepal (meaning the northern borderlands) is a kind of inchoate Tibet” (3).  Ramble further states, “The high valleys of Nepal’s northern borderlands are populated by ethnically Tibetan peoples” (Ramble 2008, 28), but he also mentions that Mustang or Lo had enjoyed its sovereign statehood until the 17th Century (27).  Similarly, other scholars replicate the language of ‘Tibetan’ to refer to Himalayan inhabitants of Nepal, such as Sherry Ortner, in Life and Death on Mt. Everest about Solukhumbu (Ortner 1999) and Kenneth Bauer in High Frontiers about Dolpo (Bauer 2004). Such statements may have real world effects on the life experiences of bona fide citizens of Nepal, such as one of the authors of this article, Chhulthim Gurung. In his experience, the presumption of Tibetanness due to his birthplace in Upper Mustang has created challenges in successfully establishing claims to Nepali citizenship. The scholarly conflation of ethnic and political meanings of ‘Tibetan’ has the potential to cause this sort of confusion.  Religion and Politics  Buddhist cultural and religious (ritual) tradition is embedded inseparably into the life of many  Himalayan communities.5 Identities are not only produced by statecraft but also closely associated with religious orientation. Nepal for many centuries was a Hindu state under the Shah and Rana regimes (Burghart 1984). Even today, after the country became a secular state in 2006, major political actors and government staff members of Nepal are primarily Hindu, which often makes the Buddhist populace in Nepal second-class citizens in experiential terms.  As Tek Bahadur Dong  24 argues, “a Buddhist Janajati candidate may have less respect while working in the same office because of their different religion.” (2016, 137). Ironically, Tibetan Buddhism made the Himalayas an international icon, as Alex McKay shows in his encyclopedic Kailas Histories: Renunciate Traditions and the Construction of Himalayan Sacred Geography (2015), but the same religious affiliation can cause complications for contemporary Himalayan communities in this way.  Inhabitants of the borderlands have been facing challenges with the rise of nationalism and the religious right between China and India. They are politically and geographically marginalized as minorities due to the antagonistic political and religious differences between them and the state. If Sikkim and Tibet were independent states standing beside Nepal and Bhutan now, the geopolitical demarcation of the borderlands might be simpler. Since these two regions were incorporated into two giant nations, India and China, the rest of the independent Himalayan states are often victimized by the border conflict between India and China.  In the book Shadow States: India, China and the Himalayas, 1910–1962 Bérénice Guyot-Réchard (2016) highlights, “the difficulty of coexisting in the Himalaya, a region whose distinct human landscape exposes India and China’s imperial nature.” She continues, “It is not just the boundary dispute or power games that create tension, but the fact India and the PRC both seek to consolidate their presence in the regions east of Bhutan by achieving exclusive authority and legitimacy over local people” (Guyot-Réchard 2016, 3). The vibration of conflict between these two countries hits other Himalaya-connected countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, but the major damage from geopolitical conflict and the central focus of the literature has been on Bhutan, Nepal, Sikkim and Tibet.   25  In her ethnography, Rehearsing the State: The Political Practices of the Tibetan Government-in-exile, of the Central Tibetan Administration in exile, housed in Dharamasala in India, Fiona McConnell (2016) characterizes the broader category of ‘Tibet’ as defined by, “the wide realm of Tibetan culture, which, pre-dating the rule of the Dalai Lamas, includes the eastern regions of Kham and Amdo as well as regions across the Indian, Nepali and Bhutanese Himalayas” (McConnell 2016, 46). Tibetan culture in this sense is closely connected with Tibetan religions such as Buddhism. McConnell situates this erstwhile Buddhist state squarely within the erstwhile secular state of India, provoking analysis of the nested politics of religion across and between different communities within India’s territorial borders.  Along these lines, we argue that ultimately religious identity cannot be conflated with national identity, just as linguistic identity cannot be conflated with ethnic identity. Understanding contemporary state-society relationships in the Himalayas requires a strong grasp of both the power of religious frameworks, and their limits.  Non-inhabitants of the Himalaya: Insider and Outsider Dynamics  In this final section of the article we shift focus from intra-Himalayan borders, and local inhabitants’ interactions with them, to recent research that has focused on different ways non-inhabitants have incorporated the Himalaya into their lives. A ‘non-inhabitant’ is defined here as a private (i.e. not directed by a central state) individual who was not raised in the Himalaya nor with Himalayan ancestry, and who inhabits the Himalaya temporarily. We have constructed this  26 term heuristically to address themes seen in recent literature that go beyond ‘tourist/host’ or ‘insider/outsider’ relationships, as out-migration of Himalayan inhabitants obfuscates simple binaries. The use of ‘non-inhabitant’ is used to encompass disparate terms such as migrant labourer, expatriate, pilgrim, and tourist, yet also exclude diasporic visitors to the Himalaya (such as Americans with Tibetan ancestry travelling to Dharamsala), and makes sure groups that may be left out by fuzzy terminology like ‘outsiders’ or ‘foreigners’ are included (such as Indian activists from the metropolitan cities).  Ethnographies focusing on practices and impacts of temporary habitation of the Himalaya depict a dialectical relationship between non-inhabitants and inhabitants construed outside of explicit state interventions by local, national, or colonial governments. The perspective from which non-inhabitants view and temporarily inhabit the Himalaya reflect changing political, economic, religious, and infrastructural circumstances in their home countries or regions. For example, circumstances such as Cold War conflict, a globalized economy, or new technological tools affect visitation patterns and in turn affects Himalayan political, economic, religious, and infrastructural construction.   The Encompassing Himalayan Border   A key focus of this article has been the central position of borders in the lives of Himalayan inhabitants. Borders are critical in constructing state subjects and the state itself, in influencing linguistic identity and linguistic proficiencies, and remain ever-present in the lives of Tibetan Buddhists and Tibetan Buddhism. Indeed, the literature reviewed here as well as in related edited  27 volumes (Horstmann, Saxer, and Rippa 2018, Smyer Yü and Michaud 2017; Saxer and Zhang 2017) has focused so thoroughly on borders to the extent that rather than dissecting places, borders instead are seen to conjoin experiences and commonly direct Himalayan inhabitants’ lives across borders. In taking these border relationships seriously and analyzing the ‘Himalaya’ as a region writ large, an ancillary effect is the becoming of a Himalayan border writ large, whence the term ‘non-inhabitant’ is introduced. By situating analysis from the perspectives of non-inhabitants (such as pilgrims, tourists, and religious renunciates), and using the geographic rationalization of the ‘Friction of Distance’, we see how transcendent spaces between the Himalaya and the rest of the world may be defined as an extra-Himalayan border. It is then possible to analyze the Himalaya itself as a type of borderland that is subject to similar mobilities and containments as noted in the preceding sections.  Approaching the Himalaya  Recent historical and ethnographic scholarship has framed the dialectic between inhabitants’ and non-inhabitants’ constructions of place and identity as an important encounter that influences ideas of both infrastructure and the sacred. In his study of the formation of sacredness of various Kailas peaks, Alex McKay (2015) conceptualizes a historical trans-border region called the Western Himalayan Cultural Complex. This Complex is defined by the resilience of its indigenous traditions against neighboring dominant regions such as the politico-cultural centers on the Tibetan plateau and the Sanskritic north Indian plains in the first and early second millenniums CE. The Kailas mountains from the Sanskritic perspective were originally manifest as unordered spaces at frontier zones, where individuals such as Vedic renunciates known as rishis could fulfill their ritual  28 or politico-economic objectives. In so doing, their very presence ‘tames’ (Yeh 2013) and opens these frontier spaces within the Complex for other Sanskritic non-inhabitants to travel for purposes of pilgrimage and statecraft. More recently during the British colonial period, pilgrimage was encouraged to Tibet’s Kailas to bring in revenue to the Uttarakhand Himalaya as well as to assert British presence during the Great Game (McKay 2015, 390). In both these cases, non-inhabitants from plains south of the Himalaya, as well as colonial metropoles, influenced the construction of a type of Himalayan place and the infrastructures used to reach it.  In Far Out: Countercultural Seekers and the Tourist Encounter in Nepal, Mark Liechty (2017) examines how tourists travelled to and interacted with Nepal from its 1950s tourism opening until the 1980s. Liechty shows how these encounters affected the economic, cultural, and infrastructural makeup of the country through three different “eras” of tourism in Nepal – the raj-inflected Golden Age, the hippie-era, and the adventure-era – where western tourists scrambled to reach the ‘terra incognita’ of the broadly conceived Himalaya. For many individuals in Europe and North America, Nepal symbolized the last ‘untainted’ Himalayan place with an idealized Hindu cosmology, peaceful non-violent (and non-nuclear) citizens, and pristine environmental conditions that were perceived to exist based on the desires of the non-inhabitant, reflecting the socio-environmental-political circumstances in their home countries. After World War II, Nepal became a ‘real’ place accessible to foreigners through improved transportation, communication, and economic infrastructures that put Kathmandu just a $100 bus ride away from Amsterdam. However, although the Friction of Distance was diminished, Nepal itself could only be constructed as a bonafide destination ready for foreign persons to enact behaviors impossible elsewhere once tourist-oriented infrastructural links were co-constructed by both Nepalis and non-inhabitants . In other words, the  29 Friction of Terrain was substantial until eateries and lodges were established from (and would further facilitate) touristic interactions. From the subjective view of travellers (from the West at least), this rendered Nepal a real, habitable place whose centres and borders were made physically tangible.   Neighbouring the Himalaya  By the 1990’s, an expatriate community is established in migration between Nepal, their foreign homes, and other countries that Heather Hindman (2013) terms Expatria. Hindman shows that expatriates’ own living and employment conditions are acutely subjected to the same processes of remotely produced ‘development’ directives that they themselves are tasked with implementing with respect to Nepal and Nepalis. The careers the expatriates are trying to advance and their infrastructure – such as women’s meetings and farmer’s markets – are linked to economic circumstances and in-demand skillsets on both sides of the Nepal-Global North ‘border’. Such transborder livelihoods subjected to infrastructural experiences of borders may be related to intra-border Himalayan contexts such as the agro-pastoralism of the Dolpo-pa in Bauer’s High Frontiers (2004) who must continually adapt their cross-border trade and lives.  In studying tourist rationalities and behaviors in Nepal and Himalayan India in the early 2010s, Christopher Howard (2017) argues that liminality in travel and border-crossing has severely diminished due to mobile technologies that allow the extension of infrastructure from ‘home’ directly to the Himalaya. Tools such as mobile phones encourage instantaneous communication and phenomenological consistency with their home lives. In this way, infrastructure that eases  30 everyday life in Nepal (and decreases the Friction of Terrain) can now fit in non-inhabitants’ pockets to not only mimic aspects of their home life but to take part in it by barely missing a beat. Howard recounts how non-inhabitants inhabit the Himalayas as inter-placed. That is, they are both in a Himalayan space, such as a bus between Pokhara and Kathmandu, and in their home country as they prepare stories for social media. Crossing the border to the Himalaya is part of their identity construction on their home’s side of the border as capable, adventurous, and cultured individuals.  By reviewing ethnographies focusing on non-inhabitant experiences of the Himalaya, we have shown how remoteness is tied more closely with infrastructural capacity than literal geographic notions of distance. The identities of non-inhabitants of the Himalaya are partly constructed by the Himalaya’s representations, peoples, economies, and religions through temporary interactions across an extra-Himalayan border that has shifted across time. At the same time, Himalayan people, spaces, and infrastructures are themselves co-constituted in these vernacular interactions across ‘borders’. Just as van Schendel (2002) argued for the implementation of non-contiguous spatial forms such as archipelagos and patchworks to understand otherwise ‘continuous’ space, the ethnographic works reviewed in this section allow us to re-consider the central importance of spatial continuity with respect to borders. We believe borders can transcend traditional notions of two-dimensional space altogether and be de-coupled from the orientation of nation-states, polities, communities, and other all-encompassing groupings. This work is done by viewing borders from the subjective, individual perspectives of those who cross them – whether those individuals are inhabitants or not.  Citizens of the Himalaya  31 Processes of border-crossing move in all directions through extra-Himalayan borders. An edited volume entitled Global Nepalis by Gellner and Hausner (2018) shows the ways Nepali diasporas have formed around the globe while navigating and influencing their environments, identities, and practices along not just the physical, international borders, but also the dividing borders within and between multicultural communities in the diaspora.  Similarly, in Crossing the Border to India Jeevan Sharma (2018) examines how migration of young men from rural Nepal to Indian cities – driven by cultural expectations and structures of gender in addition to economic necessity –  renders them unable to perform their other duties as men in the village. At the same time, the infrastructure of the remittance economy from non-Himalayan regions across the border transforms processes of fulfilling gender roles for the men who have remained in their rural Nepali villages. All actors here are part of a globalizing dialectic that recursively influences perceptions and imaginations, even across the ‘open’ India-Nepal border that mostly allows free movement and employment between the countries. Noting this, it becomes clear how the borders under discussion do not necessarily have to be a restricted or hard international border  to affect identities and practice.  As part of the focus looking beyond totalizing, isomorphic ethnic, linguistic, and administrative borders, citizens of Himalayan-encompassing countries can be non-inhabitants as well (namely Chinese and Indian private citizens from non-Himalayan states and provinces). For instance, Tenzin Jinba (2013) discusses how the Suopowa are concerned about their ethnic representation in relation to central regimes of classification, but also due to the economic engine of tourist trade largely driven by Chinese citizens. In addition to the construction of the nearby highway and  32 lookout for tourists, there is an interesting dialectic around the infrastructural preservation of local historical towers that provide a unique sightseeing attraction. On the other hand, the non-inhabitant G.D. Agarwal, Indian anti-dam activist from non-Himalayan Kanpur and based in Delhi (Drew 2016), became the key figure in the ‘refusal’ (McGranahan 2016) of hydroelectric dam projects near the source of the sacred Ganges river due to the perception that impeding the flow of the river (as natural formation and as Goddess Ganga) would affect not just local environments but the health and spiritual wellbeing of the hundreds of millions of residents who live along its banks downstream. Indeed, those at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) have conceptualized that the Hindu-Kush Himalayan (HKH) mountain systems -- a sprawling 3.5 million square kilometer region -- provides water to 1.3 billion people that make up a fifth of the world’s population (ICIMOD n.d.). These examples further complicate notions of geographical containers and present the Himalaya as sets of processes tied into overlapping webs of local and global, as well as nodal and atomic, connections.  Conclusions  Through reviewing a selection of recent ethnographies of the Himalaya, this article has examined new trajectories in Himalayan scholarship that increasingly perceive the region not as a connection point between discrete ‘areas’ centered elsewhere in Asia, but instead focuses on the diverse and affective engagements of inhabitants and non-inhabitants with the various types of borders that produce the region. This transition makes it possible to see the Himalaya writ large as a region defined by continuity and discontinuity. In the above analyses we have argued for a scholarly approach that accounts for the uneven trans-border flows of culture and politics to acknowledge  33 the friction that emerges at the intersection between local subjectivities and broader structures of social change. Through looking at instances in which local communities engage directly or indirectly with cultural, administrative, religious, linguistic, and economic borders, it becomes clear that their differing interactions with each type of border challenges the notion of singular ‘areas’ based on state-framed, isomorphic borders that would transect the Himalaya. The varying projections of identity and markers of belonging dependent upon individual, space, and audience depict the Himalayan borders and borderlands as multilayered spaces of constant social, political, and economic negotiation between individuals, communities, and states.  Bringing individual ethnographies from across the region into a shared analysis of borders and borderlands, as we have done here, suggests how an interdisciplinary approach to Himalayan scholarship may yield broader insights relevant to borderlands studies in general. We hope that by synthesizing recent approaches to ethnicity, language, religion and transnationalism in the Himalaya, this article will be a helpful tool for scholars working in other domains of the Himalaya as well as on borders and borderlands in other world areas. Building on the questions we proposed at the outset of this paper, we hope others may extend these considerations beyond English-language European and North American publications to engage with related debates in other languages, particularly those emergent from different parts of Asia. As issues of mobility and immobility continue to incite global debate around migration, citizenship, and displacement, we hope that this review article advances an understanding of borders and borderlands that exceeds dualistic thinking and encompasses the multivariate, affective, and complex ways people negotiate and navigate these spaces of constant change.     34 Acknowledgements   This article came together over the course of one academic year (Sep 2017-April 2018) as we attended a graduate seminar led by Dr. Sara Shneiderman on Ethnography of Tibet and the Himalaya at UBC. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Dr. Sara Shneiderman for leading this course, which was not part of her regular teaching load, and creating safe and productive discussion sessions. This article also greatly benefited from her insightful comments and editorial support. We would also like to extend our thanks to cIRcle for providing a platform and making our article available to others who may be interested.                           35 1. Emily Amburgey is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at UBC. Her research focuses on the transformation of ethnic identities, the politics of state building, climate change, and labor migration in Mustang, Nepal. Bendi Tso is from Chone County of the Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, China, and also a PhD candidate in Anthropology at UBC. Her research focuses on the intersection of language, identity and authenticity within the context of Chone County. Chulthim Gurung is from a nomadic Tibetan family, born in Chungjung, Upper Mustang, Nepal and trained as a Buddhist monk until he attained khenpo (equivalent to a MA degree). He completed his Master’s degree in Asian Studies at UBC in 2019, where his research focused on contemporary Tibetan monastic education systems in the Himalayan region, especially Sikkim. He is now a doctoral student in Religious Studies at McGill University. James Binks is an emerging scholar from Canada who recently completed his BA Honours thesis in Anthropology at UBC, based on fieldwork along the Char Dham Yatra in the Indian Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. His research focuses upon the way in which religious and environmental experiences of out-of-state yatris (travellers, pilgrims, tourists) along the Himalayan circuit are constructed and mediated through processes of mobility and infrastructural interactions. Sara Shneiderman is Associate Professor in Anthropology and the School of Public Policy & Global Affairs at UBC, and coordinated the seminar. 2. During the process of writing this paper,  the Indian Parliament in August 2019 passed legislation called the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act to abrogate the articles of the Indian constitution that accorded Kashmir semi-autonomous status since 1950, and dissolve the state into two union territories of ‘Jammu and Kashmir’ and ‘Ladakh’. The broad range of responses to this move depict in real time the complex multidimensional forces at play along highly contested Himalayan borderlands. 3 . These issues are further explored in McGranahan (2018), an article published after our seminar concluded. 4. https://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/printedition/news/2014-10-28/were-no-tibetans.html 5. For recent work about Himalayan Hindu communities, see Drew (2016).                                                  1 References Bauer, Kenneth M. 2004. High Frontiers: Dolpo and the Changing World of Himalayan Pastoralists. New York: Columbia University Press.  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