Gerald Roche Hugo Valentin Centre, Uppsala University The

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Tisdag 14 oktober kl. 15.00–16.30 i rum D480
Gerald Roche
Hugo Valentin Centre, Uppsala University
The 'Double Assimilation' of Tibet's Linguistic Minorities
Abstract
'Double assimilation' describes a situation where a single population is subjected to dual
assimilatory pressures: assimilation into a national identity occurring alongside assimilation
into a regional or ethnic identity. Double assimilation has been most thoroughly described for
the case of national minorities in the Soviet Union, but I will be arguing for broader
applicability of the model. My presentation examines the case of Tibet's minority languages,
and their double assimilation at the hands of the Chinese state and Tibetan nation. Although
typically represented as a linguistically homogenous territory and nation, Tibet, at present, is
home to about forty non-Tibetan languages, including eighteen spoken by people presently
classified as Tibetans. While much has been written about Tibetans as objects of assimilation
within China, this presentation will draw attention to the role of Tibetans as agents of
assimilation, thus highlighting a little-studied aspect of ethno-politics in China today, namely,
the existence of state-sponsored ethno-nationalism and its linguistic impact. Drawing on
comparative case studies from Europe, I outline a typology of double assimilation within
which to discuss the varying predicaments of Tibet's minority languages, in order to provide
an analytical framework within which to continue further research on this topic.
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Caroline Kerfoot
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