AAA Annual Meeting Program

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This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges     Students
Type: Paper
Paper Title: REPRESENTING MOBILITY: STORIES AND HISTORIES FROM INDIA'S NORTH EASTERN BORDERLANDS
Author: SWARGAJYOTI GOHAIN   
Date/Time: Thu., 8:30 AM
Co-Author(s): SWARGAJYOTI GOHAIN 
Abstract: Need mobility only mean physical movement? This paper proposes to show how mobility is discursively represented through various practices and narratives of a border people in North East India. The Monpas of Arunachal Pradesh in North East India have traditionally lived in an area bordering Bhutan and Tibet, and had religious and commercial links with both regions. For centuries, Monpas were under the jurisdiction of Lhasa, Tibet and even after the McMahon Line boundary was drawn between Tibet and British colonial India in 1914, whereby Monpa areas were subsumed within British territory, cross-border movement between Tibet and the Monpa areas continued. However, in the period after India’s independence in 1947, and following the flight of the Dalai Lama to India in 1959, border tensions between India and China escalated into a border war in 1962. Subsequently, the border between Tibet and the Monpa areas of India was sealed, and cross-border mobility ceased. The loss of physical mobility has led to alternative attempts by Monpas to articulate their ties with the rest of the Tibetan Buddhist world lying across the borders of the Indian nation-state. This paper explores the alternative spatial imaginations that emerge from Monpa genealogies tracing origin in Tibetan or Bhutanese royalty, stories and legends of migration, and the invocation of a trans-Himalayan Buddhist identity by contemporary Monpa public leaders. The paper shows how the disruption of ancient mobile networks has brought to the fore new means of articulating transnational connections and cultural geographies that transcend national boundaries.

Program Number: 2-0215
Session Title: MOVING BODIES, BEING SUBJECTS: ETHNOGRAPHIC, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL APPROACHES TO MOBILITY
Session Sponsor: Co-Sponsored by Archaeology Division and Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Thu., 8:00 AM-11:45 AM
Organizer(s): MAUREEN MARSHALL (University of Chicago), MICHELLE LELIEVRE (University of Chicago) 
Chair(s): MAUREEN MARSHALL (University of Chicago)  
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