Rethinking Exile Tibetan Democracy: Insights from Early Exile Political Manifestos (80373)

Session Information: History/Historiography
Session Chair: Ngoc Thuy Vi Pham

Sunday, 26 May 2024 10:20
Session: Session 1
Room: Room 707
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

Today, a broad consensus has emerged among exiled Tibetans and scholars working on Tibet regarding the history of the democratization process in exile. Democracy, we are told, was first introduced by the Dalai Lama in exile as his gift to the Tibetans. In this narrative, like Kant’s unenlightened subjects, exiled Tibetans are presented as reluctant participants, refusing to emerge from their self-inflicted immaturity. Furthermore, given the continued public role of religion and the unelected position of the Dalai Lama until recently in the Tibetan Government-in-exile, most scholarships on exiled Tibetan democracy have characterized it as a deviation that could be best described as “not yet fully democratic” or at worst as “sham,” or, “scripted.” By discussing some previously unknown political manifestoes by ‘ordinary’ Tibetans from the late 1950s to early 1960s, my paper aims to complicate the narrative of the top-down democratization process in exile. I will discuss how, on the eve of exile, before the Dalai Lama formally announced the democracy, some form of consensus had already emerged among Tibetans, at least among political and intellectual elites, that democracy was a necessary way forward if they wanted to “catch up” with the world. Moreover, by discussing these early political manifestoes, this presentation will show how this pursuit of democracy among exiled Tibetans was not just instrumental, led by few traditional political elites, but was both anti-colonial and anti-aristocratic in nature—inspired a vision of ‘new Tibet.’

Ugyan Choedup, Pennsylvania State University, United States

About the Presenter(s)
Dr Ugyan Choedup is a University Postdoctoral Fellow or Instructor at Pennsylvania State University in United States

See this presentation on the full scheduleSunday Schedule

Conference Comments & Feedback

Place a comment using your LinkedIn profile


Share on activity feed

Powered by WP LinkPress

Share this Presentation

Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00