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Language, Exile and the Burden of Undecidable Citizenship: Tenzin Tsundue and the Tibetan Experience

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that the case of Tibetan exiles confirms that language is a crucial area for determining how theexile experience ruptures, recreates, and problematizes the identity and values of the exiled individual. The chapter discusses the linguistic and semiotic dimensions of Tibetan exile as articulated by the Tibetan writer Tenzin Tsundue. The historical context of Tsundue’s writing is explored, especially with reference to his concern with language and citizenship, followed by an analysis of his representation of how the exilic experience engenders a crisis of identity at the cultural and linguistic levels. The conclusion considers the implication of the exilic experience for a new Tibetan citizenship that has been ruptured culturally and linguistically, and which is located in what Homi Bhabha calls the “Third Space.”



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