Tibetan Peregri-nations: Mobility, Incommensurable Nationalisms and (Un)belonging Athwart the Himalayas

Chris Vasantkumar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Putting into context the sentiment expressed by Tibetans on both sides of the Himalayas that true Tibet is located elsewhere, this essay focuses on an under-commented-upon consequence of Tibetan trans-Himalayan mobilities since 1959: the creation of two incommensurable modes of nationalism. One of these is territorial, the other embodied in the form of the Dalai Lama himself. The result of this dual nationalism has not been mutual compatibility and an increase in potential modes of Tibetan belonging, but mutual interference and a broadened scope for unbelonging. As such, the dispersed spatiality of community it enacts is reminiscent not so much of the romantic, organic unity of Herderian modes of (methodological) nationalism as it is of Heine's experiences of manifold unbelonging and contemporary German-Jewish articulations of a 'portable homeland'. Ultimately, to reckon with such originary unbelonging, theories of diaspora and mobility must treat concepts of both home and mobility as mixtures of stability and instability, movement and stasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-235
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


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