Current Institutional Affiliation
Research Professor of International Affaris, Elliot School of International Affairs, George Washington University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2001
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, Harvard University
Ethnic Identification among Tibetan Migrants in Taiwan

This project will explore the social processes of ethnic identification and differentiation among Tibetan migrants in the Republic of China on Taiwan. In particular, it will investigate the role of the cultural elites and Tibetans themselves in constructing ethnic difference within the context of state, shifting narratives of Taiwanese national identity. My objective is to determine how Tibetans mediate connections with the larger political, cultural and economic systems of which they form a part. By focusing on the interaction between the Tibetan community and the wider social fields of its host society, this study also inquires into the ways in which Tibetan migrants are subjected to the disciplining practices of the nation and state. On a theoretical level, I will examine the processes of ascription from outside the group boundary in order to demonstrate that the potential of the post Barthian transactional model has not been fully explored or understood. In regards to the theoretical discourse on globalism and transnational migration, my investigation is positioned as a tentative critique of the overemphasis in recent literature on the formation of identity along transnational circuits. Finally, by examining the processes by which Tibetans negotiate a place within the changing national framework of Taiwan, this inquiry links the discourse of the subject to an ethnographic study of political power. This project thus seeks to develop a new analytical framework for the study of the nation and state.