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Exile Cultures, Misplaced Identities Edited by Paul Allatson and Jo McCormack
Exile Cultures, Misplaced Identities
Critical Studies Vol. 3 0
General Editor Myriam Diocaretz Maastricht University Editorial Board A n n e E. Berger, Cornell University Rosalind C. Morris, Columbia University Marta Segarra, Universitat de Barcelona
Amsterdam - New York, NY 2008
Exile Cultures, Misplaced Identities
Paul Allatson and Jo McCormack
"Soviet Tanks during the aftermath of the Hungarian Uprising, near Erzsebet Square, Budapest, 1956." ©Hajdu Laszlo All Rights Reserved Cover design: Aart Jan Bergshoeff The paper on which this book is printed meets the requirements of "ISO 9706:1994, Information and documentation - Paper for documents Requirements for permanence". ISBN: 978-90-420-2406-9 ©Editions Rodopi B.V, Amsterdam - New York, NY 2008 Printed in the Netherlands
Introduction Paul Allatson and Jo McCormack
Becoming and Unbecoming Tu: Nation, Nationality and Exilic Agency in the People's Republic of China Susette Cooke
Exile as Nationality: The Salar of Northwest China David S.G. Goodman
Language, Exile, and the Burden of Undecidable Citizenship: Tenzin Tsundue and the Tibetan Experience Obododimma Oha
Returning from Exile: The Japanese Citizens from the Former Manchuria Rowena Ward
Memory and Exile: Contemporary France and the Algerian War (1954-1962) Jo McCormack
The Language of Exile: Haunting Desires in Djebar's La Disparition de la langue frangaise Ana de Medeiros
Exile: Rupture and Continuity in Jean Vanmai's Chan Dang and Fils de Chan Dang Tess Do
Exiled in the Homeland: Heiner Muller's Medea Yixu Lu
Acceptance: on 1956: Desire and the Unknowable Sue Hajdu
Displacement and Shifting Geographies in the Noir Fiction of Cesare Battisti Maja Mikula
"En hibrida mezcolanza": Exile and Anxiety in Alirio Diaz Guerra's Lucas Guevara JeffBrowitt
Shame, Nostalgia and Cuban American Cultural Identity in Fiction: "la cubana arrepentida" Olga Lorenzo
Dying in the New Country Marivic Wyndham
Coda: Eleven Stars Over the Last Moments of Andalusia Devleena Ghosh
About the Contributors
Acknowledgements This collection grew out of the Institute for International Studies An nual Research symposium and workshop on Exile and Social Change, held in July and December 2004 at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia. We owe particular gratitude to the participants at those venues for their feedback and discussion. We would also like to thank Elena Sheldon (UTS) and Manuel Lorenzo (MiamiDade College, Miami), for their respective efforts in translation and tracking down obscure sources. Thanks, too, to Patricia Hill, for her careful feedback. We gratefully acknowledge the following publications for permission to reprint revised versions, or amended portions, of previously published material: Introduction (Allatson and McCormack), and chapters three (David Goodman), ten (Sue Hajdu), twelve (Jeff Browitt) and thirteen (Olga Lorenzo): Portal Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies (vol. 2, no. 1, January 2005); chapter three (David Goodman): Asian Studies Review (vol. 29, no. 4, December 2005, pp. 325-343, http://www.informaworld.com); chapter five (Rowena Ward) Japanese Studies (vol. 26, no. 2, September 2006, pp. 139-51); chapter eight (Tess Do) Portal Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies (vol. 2, no.2, July 2005); chapter eleven (Maja Mikula) Belphegor: Litterature Populaire et Culture Mediatique (vol. 6, no.2, June 2007); and chapter thirteen (Marivic Wyndham) Hu manities Research (vol. 10, no.1, 2003, pp. 77-82). To our colleagues at the Institute for International Studies, in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UTS, goes our gratitude for their sustenance through all stages of this book. We would like to thank the many contributors for their patience, good will, and commitment. Finally, our deep appreciation goes to the General Editor of the Critical Studies series, Myriam Diocaretz, the Editorial Board members of the series, and Esther Roth, at Rodopi for their enthusiastic support of this multidisciplinary project in international studies.
Introduction Paul Allatson and Jo McCormack The late Edward Said's influential and widely reprinted essay "Reflec tions on Exile," which was originally published in Granta in 1984, begins with the claim that "Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience" (2001: 173). Said's attitude here is itself strangely compelling. While he goes on to discuss the ambivalence by which exile is dealt with as an enabling condition in the now substantial historical body of exile literature from across the globe, and elaborates on exile's status as "a potent, even enriching, motif" of modernity itself, his meditations on the subject are anchored in a conviction that those in exile live with "the crippling sorrow of estrangement" (2001: 173). Said's take on exile may, in part, be attributed to his lifelong concern with the predicament of the Palestinian peoples, particularly since the formation of the state of Israel. His position nonetheless raises a number of questions about exile and the ways it has been, and can be, lived, metaphorized, and critically discussed in, the contemporary world. Whose exile accords with Said's conceptualization? Does exile inevitably engender sadness and ontological estrangement, the psychic consequences of physical separation from a purported "native place" and the unhealable rupture "between the true self and its true home" (Said 2001: 173)? Are there other means of living in, and imagining, exile? What can exile and its critical uses tell us about the complex imbrication of processes of identification with a particular place or multiple places? Does exile continue to have a critical use value as a descriptor for how certain communities and individuals perceive and make sense of their worldly locations? In Said's "Reflections on Exile," perhaps his key statement on such questions, exile is cast as a disturbed physical and psychic relation to space and home. Amy Kaminsky, speaking of Latin American exiles from the Southern Cone dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s,
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goes further with her claim "that without the emplaced human body, there is nothing to know or represent about exile and its aftermath" (1999: xi). However, as Said also points out, since Nietzsche, at least, western literary and philosophical responses to modernity have often used the exile trope to characterize a prevailing sense of unease, dislocation, and "spiritual" orphanhood (2001: 173). A mood of estrangement dominates western cultures, and Said attributes this by no means fatal or unproductive condition to the impact of constant exile flows, so much so that western literature can be said to be a literature of "extraterritoriality" (2001: 173-74). The western literary realm for Said is thus emblematic of wider forces, one sign that exile has proliferated in an epoch marked by cataclysmic events and far-reaching processes on a global scale: imperialism and its neoimperialist successors; decolonization and postcolonial unrest; wars on hitherto unimagined scales; competing nationalisms; entrenched ideological enmities; revolutions, dictatorships, and fundamentalisms; holocausts and ethnic cleansings; mass migration; mass starvation and poverty; AIDS and other pandemics; envi ronmental ruination and, in the foreseeable future, the consequences of global warming; transnational capitalism; and globalizations. Exile would seem to be an inevitable consequence of such pressures in "the age of the refugee, the displaced person, mass immigration" (Said 2001: 174). Many other terms could be deployed—and in recent scholarship have—to describe this exilic age: diaspora, nomadism, cosmopolitanism, transnationalism, statelessness, homelessness, deterritorialization, transmigrancy, borderlessness, transmodernity, errance, and translated/ional culture, to name a few. The current epoch thus seems, paradoxically, to be an age of dis placement that applies pressure to orthodox understandings of exile. Most commonly exile is defined as banishment, a physical separation and a geographical dislocation from home enacted by a state's or a regime's legal system, and intended to prevent certain social actors or groups from initiating change at national or regime levels. Accepting this definition, Thomas Pavel argues that as a form of impelled "human mobility across geographical and political space," exile must be distinguished from "voluntary expatriation," as well as from slavery and immigration (1998: 26). Exile is most commonly imposed on "those who count," the "publicly important" competitors for, and the critics (writers, artists, politicians) of, state power (1998: 27). Hamid
Naficy, however, takes a less prescriptive stance in his discussion of external and internal banishment. He argues that internal banishment, or "deprivation of means of production and communication, exclusion from public life," could designate the experiences of many state sub jects who may not be targeted by a state's legal or policing appara tuses (1996: 123). Naficy's definition of internal exile indicates that a state may discriminate against internal communities and individuals so that they are exiled at home, their potential to disrupt or challenge the state's operations accordingly limited (1996). Thus, internal exile may be mani fested as a form of social limitation and immobility—from short term to life—within the penitentiary, the prison camp, the asylum, the house converted into a prison, and even the antipodean prison colony (internal exile transported). Beyond those sites of official dislocation, supposedly benign institutions such as the familial home, and social conditions such as enforced or prolonged unemployment, may also function as sites of exile. The flip side of legislated banishment at home is exile chosen to evade a state's legal apparatuses. Aside from millions upon millions who have fled the rise to power and operations of totalitarian, dictatorial or simply ideologically unpalatable regimes, judicial evasion characterizes the experiences of innumerable outlaws and fugitives from the law (Giacomo Casanova, Ronald Biggs, Cesare Battisti, and so on), as well as the exiles of state leaders, often dictators, who become the target of state and international legal authorities once their regimes fall. It is also possible to argue that a form of internal banishment ap plies to many native peoples. The doctrine of terra nullius applied by the British to Australia, for example, provides an instance of colonization that functioned by literally excising indigenous peoples from the map, a rhetorical and legalistic gesture upheld by physical dispossession, rigid assimilatory pressures, and genocide. The conquest and dispossession of indigenous peoples in their homelands are not often included in exile debates. But for the Argentinean Enrique Dussel, such dispossession is a result of a dominating modernity that arose in late fifteenth century Europe, and that was in part constituted through the production of exiles. Dussel argues that prior to 1492, most of Europe had been a periphery for the Islamic world. Spain, and Portugal before it, were crucial in inverting this relationship. The defeat of Granada in 1492, the final stage of the reconquista of the Iberian Pen-
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insular, ended the Islamic world's 800-year long claims to a portion of western Europe, and established a pattern of contact as conquest that would be exported to the Americas and elsewhere by Spain and its rivals (1993: 67). 1492 was also the year in which Spain expelled its Jewish population, a fate that would apply to the remaining Islamic communities over the next century. However, the key role of this conquering-and-banishing double act in the development of "the modern world system" has often been overlooked in contemporary under standings of modernity. For Dussel, the modernity mythotrope affirms Europe "as the 'center' of a World History that it inaugurates," while denying that "the 'periphery' that surrounds this center is conse quently part of its self-definition" (1993: 65). That denial enabled the "eclipse" of "whatever was non-European," including the relegation of the Iberian Peninsular to the periphery of European modernity (1995: 12). It is perhaps ironic, then, that the first Spanish targets of the modernity mythotrope still dominate discussions of exile in the 2 1 century. As Osama bin Laden has asserted on a number of occasions since 2001, Spain (Al'Andalus) exists in some Arab imaginaries as a lost homeland or exiled paradise, the only territory from the epoch of classical Islam not in Islamic hands today. For the Spanish Jews, whose descendants are scattered in North Africa, Israel, Turkey, and the Americas, the 1492 expulsion continues to inform their communal sense as an exile people. st
That particular communal memory adds an additional exilic trajectory to a long history of Jewish communal displacements out of which has arisen a resilient, and multivalent, foundational narrative of religious and cultural identity. Jewish tropes of exodus and redemptive return continue to inform exile debates in Europe and the Americas, and to influence other groups' conceptions of their own displacement. Since 1959, for example, many members of the Cuban sector in the USA have self-consciously embraced a Judaic notion of exile—replete with parallels drawn between Cuban and Jewish "chosen people" status—to designate their mass presence in south Florida (Allatson 2007: 106). A more prolonged historical influence from Jewish religious lore and intellectual production is evident in the discourses of African-American nationalism, pan-Africanism, and negritude. As Paul Gilroy points out, tropes of exodus, and the associated diaspora, were appropriated from Jewish discourses by historians of slavery in the 1950s and 1960s. But the connections run deeper, with Zionist
rhetoric of exile and anticipated return to the promised land informing the work of many African American and Caribbean writers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (1993: 208). For the descendants of slaves, particularly in the USA and the Caribbean, exodus or diaspora and return provided a consolatory metaphor by which to comprehend and cope with a history of enforced displacement, violence, corporeal commodification, and post-slavery discrimination (Gilroy 1993: 207). A parallel example of this tendency is provided by the many postcolonial conversions of Caliban, the enslaved monster from Shakespeare's The Tempest, into the embodiment of the exile most familiar to slaves and their descendants in the Americas. For the Barbados-born George Lamming, Caliban's exile—a deprivation of language, proper name, and place—affords some pleasure. The imperial center is now confronted by the uncountenanced return of its language in new forms, and by the presence of the voiced Other, in ways that invert the exilic relations of colonization (1992: 15). In Jewish discourses, however, the terms exile and diaspora are not normally regarded as synonymous, a semantic distinction that Barkan and Shelton (1998) contend derives from a longstanding ideological contest within Zionism exacerbated by the founding of Israel and the reluctance of many Jews to live there. That reluctance incited some architects of the Jewish state to seek an alternative to exile, with its historical connotations of suffering, violent dispersal, and lack of choice (1998: 4). The Greek word diaspora provided a hoped-for solu tion to this semantic problem: "exile connoted suffering, a negative term evoking displacement, refugee status, and above all the myth of an eventual, and possibly soon, return. In contrast, diaspora came to mean a chosen geography and identity" (1998, 4). In Israeli state discourse exile and diaspora thus signify mutually exclusive Jewish conditions: "Exile was largely revered for the cultural stamina of the exiles, their constant loyalty to the historical memory of the communal life, rejection of assimilation, and struggle for authenticity and sacrifice. In contrast, the Jewish diaspora has been envied for its material success and simultaneously denigrated as selfish and failing to contribute to the general good" (1998, 4). Despite the complex distinction between diaspora and exile in Jewish debates, exile seems to have lost ground to diaspora in recent cultural criticism. Indeed, James Clifford argued in the late 1990s that diaspora discourse is replacing minority identity discourse as well
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(1997: 255). While it is not our intention here to survey the now large body of critical work on contemporary diasporas, it is worth noting a few influential examples of diaspora's critical and conceptual ascen dancy. While the brief of Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Stud ies, which was inaugurated in 1991, is to focus on the "traditional di asporas"—Jewish, Greek, and Armenian—its influential discussions of diaspora's applicability to other peoples have greatly assisted in the critical popularization of the term as a sign of new transnational sociocultural and discursive transformations, despite William Safran's (1991) careful attempt in the journal's first issue to distinguish between diasporas and other forms of displacement (minorities, immigrants, aliens). The British cultural critic Stuart Hall (1990) deploys diaspora as a metaphorical rather than literal term for cultural identities characterized by heterogeneity, diversity, constant renewal and morphing, hybridity, and contamination. Diaspora in Hall's usage is thus not meaningful in traditional diasporic terms as a disturbed relation to a specific place, home, or myth of origin. For his part, Clifford warns against "the tendency of diasporic identities to slide into equivalence with disaggregated, positional, performed identities in general," given that diasporic experiences are tied to "specific bodies" and "historical experiences of displacement that need to be held in comparative tension and partial translatability" (1997: 272). For Gilroy, an historicized account of diaspora helps to explain and learn from the intellectual traffics of the "black Atlantic," most notably between black and Jewish intellectual currents concerned with redemption in the face of historical oppression (1993: 211). Related to diasporic discourse are renewed workings of the exo dus trope. Hardt and Negri, for example, make use of the exodus trope in response to imperial postmodernity. For these authors, Empire is at once a concept of unbounded global reach, an ahistorical eternity, and a deeply penetrative and hierarchized social realm that controls people, territories, and thus its own constructed world, one that appears, due to its placement outside history, as a vast zone of "peace" (2000: xiv-xv). In surmising how resistance to this new Empire might be managed, Hardt and Negri see in the "specter" of migration the ideal subjects for an exodus that will lead to "the evacuation of the places of power" (212-13). This migration encompasses economically impelled flight from the poorest parts of the world, as well as "flows of political refugees and transfers of intellectual labor power" (213). Nonetheless,
Hardt and Negri note that while "Desertion and exodus are a powerful form of class struggle within and against imperial postmodernity," such mobilities seem only to lead to "a new rootless condition of pov erty and misery" (213). Faced by that predicament, the authors advo cate two types of exodus: an "anthropological exodus" composed of resisters whose bodies are "incapable of submitting to command...of adapting to family life, to factory discipline, to the regulations of a traditional sex life, and so forth" (215-16); and a "machinic exodus," by which "the subject is transformed into (and finds the cooperation that constitutes it multiplied in) the machine" (366-67). Ideally, this exodus will engender a contest between claimants to the real and the virtual, the aim being the seizure "of the processes of machinic metamorphosis" (367). Hardt and Negri's machinic exodus recalls many other postmodernist responses to globalizing pressures, evident in widespread critical dependence on metaphors of displacement, deterritorialization, desertion, and their synonyms. Yet, as Kaplan points out, like "most Euro-American modernist versions of exilic displacement" that emphasize "the freedom of disconnection and the pleasures of interstitial subjectivity," the escape that postmodernist discourses promise may also conform to a colonizing logic: "The movement of deterritorialization colonizes, appropriates, even raids other spaces" (1995: 89). Hardt and Negri regard space as an ever-expanding zone of promise, of resistant potential and neo-identificatory possibility founded on mobility itself. But this utopic faith in movement is nonetheless predicated on an ability to access and profit from the technologies of virtuality that remain beyond the means of most of the planet's inhabitants. Such critical faith in mobility raises the issue of agency, particularly in an epoch when all manner of displacements, freely chosen and impelled, are challenging, and being met with counter-measures at, national borders. For whom precisely is cross-border displacement a desired end, and with what motives and rewards? Noting the critical popularization of the diaspora concept, Barkan and Shelton explain that its universalization has in part arisen because many of its main proponents are cosmopolitan intellectuals, writers and critics, for whom the term designates the postnational "'nonnormative' intellectual community" to which they belong and identify (1998: 5). For this community, Barkan and Shelton propose, the concept of diaspora provides a solution to the exclusionary practices of both nationalism and
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colonialism: "Diaspora is a culture without a country, ironically the exact antithesis of the internal coherence and integration implied by the notion of national culture. Diaspora is about choice. At a political level, the choice is manifested by adopting a voice, which even though ambivalent and fragmented can provide the tools that may serve to dismantle the enduring relations of colonialism" (1998: 5). Similar claims of the counter-hegemonic credentials of cosmopolitanism were made by the editors of a special issue of Public Culture on cosmopol itanisms, defined as a "minoritarian modernity" practiced and lived by "the victims of modernity, failed by capitalism's upward mobility, and bereft of those comforts and customs of national belonging" (Breckenridge et al. 2000: 582). And yet, in what amounts to a dehistoricized list of disparate displacements that recalls Hardt and Negri's migrating specter—"Refugees, peoples of the diaspora, and migrants and exiles represent the spirit of the cosmopolitan community"—the editors in sist that cosmopolitanism is not to be equated with a "cultural pluralism" located in or defined by a "national frame" (2000: 582). Nonetheless, the purported post-national coordinates of cosmopolitanism may deflect attention from the fact that segments of the cosmopolitan community, which might include exiles, enjoy globally legible class mobility. In her analysis of modernist and postmodernist tropes of travel and displacement, Caren Kaplan is critical of the current critical popularity of, and faith in, cosmopolitanism. She argues that the term has replaced "bourgeoisie" to signify "the emergent power brokers who know and see nothing but their own self-interest yet legitimate and rationalize their actions by recourse to the rhetoric of humanism" (1995: 126). She links cosmopolitanist rhetoric to modernist readings of exile "as an ideology of artistic production," one claimed by "Euro-American middle-class expatriates" in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: Euro-American modernisms celebrate singularity, solitude, es trangement, alienation, and aestheticized excisions of location in fa vor of locale—that is, the 'artist in exile' is never 'at home,' always existentially alone, and shocked by the strain of displacement into significant experimentations and insights. Even more importantly, the modernist exile is melancholic and nostalgic about an irreparable loss and separation from the familiar or beloved. (1995: 28)
As with the cosmopolitans of the globalized era, glossed over in the romanticized retreat into exile taken by numerous modernist artists
and writers—in Paris, London, Berlin, New York, the south of France, the south Pacific—are the socioeconomic and other privileges (gender, racial, national) that fund and facilitate the line of flight, and permit the reformulation of displacement into a metaphor for artistic and intellectual endeavour, or political and cultural critique. Said recognized the limits to exilic agency by differentiating between voiced and voiceless exile conditions. While he concedes that the works of exiled writers "lend dignity" to exiled peoples, he also argues that their texts can only partially account for exile travails: "to concentrate on exile as a contemporary political punishment, you must therefore map territories of experience beyond those mapped by the literature of exile itself. You must first set aside Joyce and Nabokov and think instead of the uncountable masses for whom UN agencies have been created" (2001: 175). Kaplan, however, argues that Said's counterpointing of the literate, literary exile intellectual or writer with the refugee masses potentially relegates the refugee outside discourses of representation and "reduces the refugee to ultimate victim, pinned in lumpen opposition to the recoverable memoirs and fictions of the exiled, bourgeois modernist" (1995: 123). Kaplan emphasizes the need for historicized attention to refugee experiences in order to "bring a previously invisible category back from the wilderness of the margins of criticism and literature" (121), and, by implication, back into exile debates as well. Refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented migrant workers, and so-called boat people are, Said notes, "a creation of the twentiethcentury state" (2001: 181), driven by state and global-capitalist imperatives to seek any better elsewhere, and often forced to confront the reality that "homecoming is out of the question" (1995: 179). Most observers would agree that since the 1970s the transnational movements of peoples have met increased resistance, and anxiety, in the states toward which such peoples are moving. The rise of Fortress Europe rhetoric and policies, for example, is in part attributable to a widespread belief that western Europe is not the product of waves over many millennia. The normalization in Europe of this notion of belonging to a place, and of a territorial right to be at home, is paralleled by Fortress America and Fortress Australia, two states founded on migration that, since the early 1990s, have passed a range of legislation intended to secure their (respective southern and northern) borders from the perceived threat of unregulated migratory flows.
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If states are not disappearing, but reconfiguring themselves to at once facilitate and delimit the movements of peoples, the reconstructive nationalism of many exile groups also responds to such reconfigurations. Noting the nationalistic coordinates of exile, Said says, "Nationalism is an assertion of belonging in and to a place, a people, a heritage. It affirms the home created by a community of language, culture and customs; and, by so doing, it fends off exile, fights to pre vent its ravages" (2001: 176). Such avowed commitments to national place are haunted by the possibility of state dissolution and reconstitution in new forms, a possibility that also has ramifications for the national communities in or against which exile is often conceptualized. At times, the combined weight of state practices and nationalist desire engenders a type of exile that is righteous, intractable, resolutely nostalgic, suspicious of others, and in denial over the identificatory muta tions of community members separated from the "original" home/land. Said attributes this atrophic tendency to a communal sense that in exile "nothing is secure," that protective lines must be drawn around the exile collective whose memories must then be jealously, passion ately guarded (2001: 178). For Said, the intransigent case in point is provided by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: What could be more intransigent than the conflict between Zionist Jews and Arab Palestinians? Palestinians feel that they have been turned into exiles by the proverbial people of exile, the Jews. But the Palestinians also know that their own sense of national identity has been nourished in the exile milieu...where the slightest deviation from the accepted group line is an act of the rankest treachery and disloyalty. (2001: 178)
Such "deviations from the accepted group" confirm Kaplan's point that exile "triggers strong responses" (1995: 141). They also highlight the paradox of exile communal nationalism forged beyond the home/land, in what Said calls "the perilous territory of notbelonging...where in the modern era immense aggregates of humanity loiter as refugees and displaced persons" (2001: 177). For Said, the paradox of extranational liminality lies in how the exile might come to terms with "a fundamentally discontinuous sense of being" when the reconstruction of "an exile's broken history into a new whole," is at once psychically "unbearable" and geopolitically "impossible" (177).
The extranational liminality of exile means that the terms home and homeland acquire enormous symbolic and emotive significance for exiled communities and individuals. Indeed, such terms, without which exile is rarely thought or lived, may introduce other axes of dispute into discussions about exile. For example, Kaminsky draws attention to the semantic challenge posed to translators by the Spanish word patria, which may signify a national home of sorts, as well as fatherland, but which cannot be easily transposed into English. Moreover, the affective uses of terms for home/land in common parlance indicate that pueblo (hometown and people) is preferred to patria when people name their place of origin, the location of the family home/hearth (casa/hogar). For Kaminsky, this amounts to a domestic identification of place with its inhabitants, as opposed to the more formal public or state registers in which patria would appear (1999: 3). The key to this linguistic contraction and expansion, then, is the domestic realm of the house/hearth, the sign that in Spanish talk of home/land is determined by a gendered ideology that naturalizes the house/hearth as feminine, as opposed to the wider masculine space of the pais (country) or patria (1999: 3-4). The implications for women, at least, are clear: how can we speak (in Spanish, in any language) of women's exile from a place (the fatherland) that traditionally has been foreclosed to them? The trouble posed by the notion of home/land is also exposed by the experiences of many freely chosen exiles, for example, the expatriates associated with imperial and colonizing projects, the "Colonial officials, missionaries, technical experts, mercenaries, and military advisers," described by Said as being "on loan," that is, living and dwelling away from home secure in the knowledge that return remains an option, even when that return is not realized (2001: 181). For many such expatriates, their exile may only become evident on the return to a place that no longer signifies or functions as home. The complex demographic legacies of the French-Algerian conflict provide a case in point, although in this case, expatriate status was more often imposed rather than freely chosen. Significant numbers of two groups to emerge from the Algerian War (1954-1962), the harkis (Algerian forces recruited into the French army but largely left to their fate after Algerian independence) and pieds noirs ("repatriated" European settlers), did manage the return to France. There they constructed nostalgic memories of the Algerian home or occluded and repressed such
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memories; at the same time, they are yet to obtain a home in France. This disturbed exilic scenario is further complicated by the postindependence Algerian community, France's largest immigrant group, which has also maintained a myth of returning for decades. That return rarely eventuated, however, given the change from the single male rotation system of the 1950s and 1960s to an immigration policy in the 1960s and 1970s intended to ease domestic unemployment by limiting the opportunities for extra-European work immigration. In reality, this policy encouraged Algerian workers to stay in France, and few immigrants took up the government's offer of a financial incen tive to return home. The children of these immigrants are torn between homeliness in a France that does not fully accept them, and an Algerian homeland that is alien to them, as is evident in a host of literary and artistic attempts to construct memories of Algeria despite displacement (Hargreaves 1989). Such projects of memorialization typify the work of many writers and artists who see in memory a vector for individual, communal and national validation in, or despite, exile. The central function of memory in exile processes is again related to the troubled exilic relation to home/land. As Said notes, "Exiles feel...an urgent need to reconstitute their broken lives" (2001: 177), and "Much of the exile's life is taken up with compensating for disorientating loss by creating a new world to rule" (181). That desire for compensation arises with the exilic crossing of national, legal, linguistic and cultural borders, and characterizes the imaginative and recuperative work of remembering. But, however difficult, exilic memory is at imaginative work in a contrapuntal sense, located in the past and the host society's present: For an exile, habits of life, expression, or activity in the new envi ronment inevitably occur against the memory of these things in another environment. Thus both the new and the old environments are vivid, actual, occurring together contrapuntally. There is a unique pleasure in this sort of apprehension, especially if the exile is conscious of other contrapuntal juxtapositions that diminish orthodox judgment and elevate appreciative sympathy. There is also a particular sense of achievement in acting as if one were at home wherever one happens to be. (2001: 186)
As this passage confirms, exile can signal a place where past and present homes coexist pleasurably when home itself becomes the name for a perpetually shifting location.
For Marianne Hirsch, however, generational factors complicate the work of contrapuntal exilic memory. Speaking of the children of Holocaust survivors, Hirsch argues that these members of the generations born away from the home/land have an "imaginative invest ment" in "postmemory." Unlike the first generation of exiles, newer generations have no direct experiences of a place of departure, and hence no capacity to imaginatively rely on memories of that place (1998: 420). As a consequence, "Postmemory characterizes the experience of those who grow up dominated by narratives that preceded their birth, whose own belated stories are displaced by the stories of the previous generation, shaped by traumatic events that can be neither fully understood nor recreated" (420). The reconstitution of exilic memory among second, third or later generations challenges Pavel's claim that "exiles never break the psychological link with their point of origin. Among the features of exile must thus be included the coercive nature of the displacement, its religious or political motivation, and the exiled's faith in the possibility of homecoming" (1998: 26). Indeed, as many critics have noted, the longer the period of exile the more it may resemble a "long-distance nationalism" enabled by "transnational social fields" of experience and habitation. These are Schiller and Fouron's terms for the modes by which many transmigrants regard, and remain attached to, their "home" country from a base in another state (2001: 3). For transmigrants, like many exiles, "transnational social fields" often appear to license a "claim to membership in a political community that stretches beyond the territorial borders of a homeland" (2001: 4). This notion of belonging despite distance, and despite identificatory investments in a new place, may generate new exile imaginaries and processes. Kaminsky speaks of the Latin American exiles who returned to Argentina, Uruguay and Chile after the end of dictatorship, and of how many of those exiles have constructed a "routine of travel" between the Latin American "home" and the society that hosted them as exiles (1999: 2). Exile in this instance combines a complex transnational reality with the metaphorical potential encoded in the term itself. In the introduction to his essay collection, Reflections on Exile, Said states: "Exiles, emigres, refugees and expatriates uprooted from their lands must make do in new surroundings, and the creativity as well as sadness that can be seen in what they do is one of the experiences that has still to find its chroniclers" (2001, xiv). To that state-
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ment we would add that the lived complexities of exile continue to impel critical attention in the contemporary world. It is not merely a truism to state that in our era, rapid globalizations, enhanced communication, and transnational migratory flows are ensuring that notions of home/land and identity are very much disputed on local, national, transnational, and global levels. As noted earlier, our era abounds with concepts to designate the realities and experiences of displacement, and in the critical literature on such matters it is routine to encounter moves away from the orthodox understanding of exile as political banishment enforced by a geopolitical state or regime. Yet, while exile now jostles against, and is often replaced by, such terms as diaspora, exodus, migrant, transmigrant, refugee, asylum seeker, and cosmopolitan, the contributors to this volume argue that whether imposed, compelled, consciously embraced, or pragmatically adopted, exile remains an important lived and critical issue in the 2 1 century. Many groups across the globe still look to exile narratives for ways of understanding and managing their lives and senses of emplacement in specific locales, and of identities that always already seem to be misplaced precisely because the work of (exilic, indeed any) identity production is "never complete, always in process, and always constituted within, not outside, representation" (Hall 1990: 222). st
The critical and creative discussions included in this book thus respond to a particular set of problems related to the exilic tension between identity, agency, and place. What factors permit and preclude exilic individual and communal transformation? Is there a need to rethink exilic agency in accord with local times, cultures and places, and to refocus attention on the impact that exile communities may have on a host society and vice versa? Do states and national imaginations still have roles to play in the production of exile? If, as Said posits, exile is "a condition legislated to deny dignity—to deny identity to people" (2001: 175), when does a people become exiled? More fundamentally, for whom is a people "a" people, and when is that status achieved? Might a notion of exile that presumes collective identificatory commonality and indissolubility be premised on an exclusionary and ultimately untenable claim to a home, a land, a bounded, finite territory? Is exilic displacement inevitably a condition of estrangement? As the contributors to this book demonstrate, there are no straight forward answers to these questions. Such questions also gesture to ward the inadequacy of a single overarching definition or description
of exile. As Amy Kaminsky suggests, however exile may be lived or dreamed, it is innately unstable, "a process rather than a singular state" (1999: xvii), a dictum that also applies to the evolving, and al ways incomplete, constitution of cultural identities per se (Hall 1990). Indeed, all the contributions to this volume grapple with a number of unresolved issues that recur in the historical literature on the topic of exile and exile identity: the problematic location of exile and its definitional dependency on a home or homeland; the multivalent struggles to attain and maintain exilic voice, representation, memory, and identity on many fronts (individual, familial, communal, national, transnational); exile's uneasy relation to modernity, the state, and globaliza tions; and exile's conceptual and lived competition with other terms, such as diaspora, refugee, and migrant. In examining these matters, this volume takes a transnational and transcultural approach to exile and its capacities to alter the ways we think about place and identity in the contemporary world. With con tributions that explore questions of exilic identity along multiple geopolitical and cultural axes, the international span of this collection represents a significant addition to exile criticism and to debates over cultural identification. In preparing this volume, we have attempted to avoid a western European or North American bias by addressing the issue of exile and place across many continents and regions in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries: Europe (Italy, France, Ger many, Hungary, Russia), the Americas (Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, the USA), Asia and the western Pacific (Japan, China, Tibet, Vietnam, New Caledonia, Australia); north Africa (Algeria); and postcolonial Africa, the grounded context for Oha's contribution on the Tibetan poet Tsundue in this volume. More importantly, the chapters also problematize the national-origin and national-destination frames by which exile has often been discussed. That is, the contributors regard exile as a complex set of lived conditions that connect disparate places and peoples, at times along surprising axials: Cuba, the USA, and Australia; Colombia and the USA; Algeria and France; Italy, France and Mexico; non-Han minorities and Han majorities in China; China, Tibet, and India; Japan, the USSR, and China; New Caledonia, Vietnam, and France; Hungary, the USSR, and Australia; and Germany before and after reunification. The chapters balance theoretical concerns with detailed case studies that approach exile from literary studies, cultural studies, historical, and social sciences perspectives. The
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volume also includes evocative work by cultural producers who are themselves "products" of exile. The first two chapters provide a case-study retort of sorts to Said's understanding of exile as a lived experience characterized by es trangement and sorrow. By detailing the experiences of two communi ties redefined as non-Han nationalities in the People's Republic of China (PRC) in the 1950s, Susette Cooke's chapter on the Tu people, and David Goodman's on the Muslim Salar people, demonstrate a fea ture of exilic realities rarely if ever addressed in the critical literature: that is, the capacity of a particular people or group to adapt to an arbi trarily imposed and/or self-consciously adopted exile status and thus take advantage of the identity directives of a geopolitical state. Cooke's study of the Tu people proposes that a sense of exilic displacement may arise from state-directed policies of inclusion rather than exclusion. She notes that when the PRC assigned an official ethnic category, or "nationality," to all its citizens in the 1950s, a group in northwest China was registered as the "Tu nationality" despite their self-designation "Monguor." Constructed as Tu in the great family of the Chinese nation by Chinese linguistic, cultural, and political determinants, the Monguors found themselves in a state of exile from their own communal references of origin, history, and identity. Cooke explores how the processes of Chinese culturalist classification of Others in the making of the modern Chinese state worked to isolate the Tu from valued aspects of their collective imaginary. But she also demonstrates how the Tu, given new opportunities in the reform period inaugurated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, have challenged official constructions to recover their own version of "misplaced" collective identity. Goodman's chapter similarly confirms that exile is a complex process in China, where a Han cultural center constructs all non-Han peoples as having peripheral status. Notwithstanding that centerperiphery logic, Goodman argues, the Salar—an Islamic Chinese community numbering some 100,000 and living along the upper reaches of the Yellow River, on the borders of Qinghai and Gansu Provinces in northwestern China—have self-consciously constructed a highly productive communal exile identity within the Chinese state. The idea that the Salar are an exile community has a long provenance, as Goodman elaborates, but he also argues that the Salar's selfembraced exilic status is not characterized by a sense of ethnic or
communal victimhood. Rather, by deploying a communal exile narra tive to support their movements and business dealings within the parameters of the Chinese state, the pragmatic Salar have taken advantage of social and economic reforms, both as beneficiaries of such reforms and as adaptive and mobile social actors in the ongoing socioeconomic and political transformation of the Chinese economy. A less optimistic experience of exile—more in line with Said's articulation of exile as estrangement—is discussed by the Nigerian critic Obododimma Oha in his analysis of what he calls the burden of undecidable citizenship in the work of the exiled Tibetan poet Tenzin Tsundue. For Oha, Tsundue's poems confirm language as a key site in which the exile condition ruptures, recreates, and problematizes the identity and values of the exiled individual. Focusing on the linguistic and semiotic dimensions of Tsundue's poems, and drawing lessons from African postcolonial literary criticism, Oha proposes that the exilic experience engenders a crisis of identity at cultural and linguistic levels. He concludes by considering the implication of exile for a new Tibetan citizenship that has been ruptured culturally and linguistically, and that is located in what Homi Bhabha calls the "Third Space" (1994). Rowena Ward's chapter examines the little known case of the zanryu hojin, Japanese citizens abandoned and/or stranded in Manchu ria, in what is now China, at the end of the Second World War, and whose existence troubles the national markers by which Japaneseness is conventionally conferred and withheld. Ward also considers the zanryu hojin in light of Said's assumptions that people have a single geographical homeland and that exiles always know they are in exile. Ward argues that as a result of their exile in China, many zanryu hojin did not have the opportunity to develop a sense of Japaneseness or homeland that would allow them to be recognized as members of the imagined Japanese national community after their return migration to Japan. This effectively means that many zanryu hojin experience multiple exiles in and between China and Japan, all of which function as homeless lands. Moving from east Asia, the next two chapters deal with the legacies of the Algerian War (1954-1962)—a conflict often described as one of the hardest wars of decolonization ever fought, one that engendered numerous exiles—as represented in the novels of Dalila Kerchouche, Zahia Rahmani, and Assia Djebar. Jo McCormack's reading
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of Kerchouche's novel Monpere, ce harki and Rahmani's Moze, both published in 2003, approaches those texts as important collective memory artefacts of the Algerian War and its displacements. McCormack argues that for these authors, the challenge of finding or claiming a home, and thus ending or reconciling their exile, revolves around coming to terms with a traumatic past and being recognized in French history. McCormack reveals how the harkis (Algerian soldiers who fought for the French army during the war in Algeria) have clearly been excluded from French society for nearly half a century, enduring a form of internal exile within France in camps, occluded from official French histories, and thus silenced. Kerchouche's and Rahmani's novels illustrate the role of agency in the construction of collective memory, as the authors attempt to gain greater recognition of this group's role in French history, thus fostering better understanding of the harkis and allowing reconciliation between generations and groups. For McCormack, the work of exilic memory in these texts confirms the enduring importance of memory work in the discourses of inclusion and exclusion in wider French civil society. Ana de Medeiros's chapter also examines the enduring exilic legacies of the Algerian War as mediated through literature, in this case in Djebar's 2003 novel, La Disparition de la langue franqaise. Medeiros notes that while the novel appears seamlessly to enter Dje bar's ceuvre as yet another literary manifestation of the author's displaced view of the world, in one key respect the novel is uncharacteristic. Djebar's literary reputation has rested on the feminocentricity of her writings, which tend to involve a female narrator or protagonist through whose perspective the historical and contemporary situation of Algerian women, exiled or not, is explored. In La Disparition, however, the main narrator and protagonist is an Algerian man, and Algerian women are not central to the narrative. In her analysis of this shift and its exilic significance, Medeiros identifies the themes and devices in La Disparition that seem characteristic of Djebar's writing, whilst at the same time taking account of their specificity in the text. That identification enables Medeiros to examine the apparently unfa miliar "male" voice and perspective of Djebar's novel in order to show that it is nonetheless haunted by a female presence. For Medeiros, this haunting is consonant with the feminocentric impulse throughout Djebar's overall literary output; and, as such, haunting functions as both a trope and type of Algerian women's exile.
Tess Do's contribution to this volume moves to the south Pacific and yet another exilic legacy of French colonialism. Do focuses on the work of the New Caledonian-born writer Jean Vanmai, whose first two novels, Chan Dang (1980) and Fils de Chan Dang (1983), describe the working conditions and exilic existence of the little known Chan Dang, the voluntary workers from Tonkin (later North Vietnam) who moved to New Caledonia between the late nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth century. Descended himself from a Chan Dang family, Vanmai wishes to preserve the memory of the Chan Dang's past. In writing the story of the Chan Dang, Vanmai sees himself as the guardian of the Chan Dang's collective memory, a keeper and defender of their common past. Do argues that Vanmai's depictions of the Chan Dang are doubly important. First, by sharing with other Vietnamese migrants and refugees the life and experiences of the Tonkinese voluntary workers in New Caledonia, Vanmai breaks the silence surrounding colonial exile and exploitation and provides an account of the Chan Dang's exile that can be integrated into the contemporary history of the Vietnamese diaspora, a transnational grouping that has not accorded the Chan Dang a voice or a presence. Second, and more provocatively, Do suggests that by using different narrative resolutions for each of his protagonists, Vanmai stresses the need for younger Vietnamese generations to fulfill their filial duty in a place that has historically prevented the continuance of tradition and disrupted familial connections. By emphasizing the need for symbolic acts of filial duty, Do proposes, Vanmai pays homage to his Vietnamese ancestors and earns himself a honorable title, that of a dutiful "son of Chan Dang," in what amounts to a rhetorical reconciliation of the Chan Dang's displacement and identity travails. A different experience of exile emerges in Yixu Lu's analysis of the German playwright Heiner Muller's Verkommenes Ufer Medeamaterial Landschaft mit Argonauten (1982), his retelling of the Medea myth in the context of a Germany divided during the Cold War era. Muller's play alludes to dramatic versions of the Medea myth in both antiquity and modern German literature, but in doing so, Lu proposes, he undermines their main tendency. In Euripides's tragedy, for example, both Jason and Medea are exiles in different senses, and to each the action offers a different possibility of a return home. By marrying Kreon's daughter, Jason can regain a place of honor in Greek society, but at the cost of rejection and further exile for Medea; the tragic ac-
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tion, however, opts for a different ending, Medea's return to the realm of the gods, but at the cost of her humanity. In this and later versions of the myth, dialogue brings about meaningful change in human relations, for good or ill. Muller's adaptation negates the teleology of hu man action: only words move, but they set no change in motion. Muller's play, therefore, can be seen as a reversal of the prototype of meaningful return from exile established in the myth of Odysseus. Muller's reworking of the exile myth thus foregrounds the playwright's conviction that the incapacity for meaningful dialogue was symptomatic of life in the former East Germany. Lu concludes her chapter by exploring the further implications of the reversal of traditional myths of exile and the failure of the instrumental power of dialogue to reconcile the pain of separation and displacement in contemporary Germany. The contribution to this volume by the Australian-Hungarian artist Sue Hadju represents, on the one hand, an account of her relationship to her Hungarian-born father, and on the other, her response as a photographer to the photographs her father took in the last days of the October 1956 uprising before he left Hungary for exile in Australia. As Hadju says, the artwork she discusses and presents in her piece "emerges from my position as a member of the Hungarian diaspora, whereby my very existence and identity as a member of a diaspora owes itself to a historical event that I am unable to lay claim to." The chapter is thus framed by Hajdu's ambivalent experiences of diaspora, hence her concern to trace the tensions created by multiple desires: in diasporic longing, in positivist history-making, in ambivalent citizenship, and in the demands put on the photograph as unmediated historical evidence. The chapter opens with an outline of the Hungarian historical setting in which her father's original images were produced, and proceeds to elaborate on the Australian-born artist's responses to those images. For Hajdu, vernacular photographs can be used to contest and replace images and ideologies that have come to dominate memories of the past, so that the past becomes meaningful through acts of critical engagement. "1956: desire and the unknowable" was first exhibited in a solo exhibition, Little Histories, at the Sydney Col lege of the Arts in 2001. Later that year it was presented, together with thirty of the artist's father's original photographs, in a father-daughter collaborative exhibition at the gallery 62 Robertson, in Brisbane, called Between Ranke and the sublime: two approaches to Budapest
1956. Those exhibitions, and the artist's meditations, present oppos ing, and ultimately irreconcilable, modernist and postmodernist views about the ability of the photograph to provide knowledge of the past and exilic displacement. Maja Mikula's chapter focuses on the complex geospatial coordi nates of exile at work in the novels of Cesare Battisti, an Italian author and former member of the ultra-left guerrilla group, Armed Proletari ans for Communism (PAC), which was active in Italy in the 1970s and 1980s. As Mikula demonstrates, Battisti's situation is worthy of critical attention because he writes his novels and short stories from the vantage point of a ventennial exilic experience in Mexico and France, thus constructing a doubled national exilic realm that is haunted by memories of Italy. In Battisti's fiction, Mikula argues, there is little scope for enthusiasm and joy. His textual world is dominated by broken lives, estrangement, shady deals, violence and betrayal, and it is an all-male world in which female characters are either treacherous or purely instrumental in men's grander designs. For Bat tisti, exile is characterized by the absence of innocence, morality and responsibility, and dominated by the trope of relentless movement. Moreover, Battisti's vision of exile makes itself felt in, and as, a linguistic shift between Italian and French, and in geospatial settings that conjoin European displacements with the violating and blocking reali ties of the US-Mexico borderlands. As Mikula argues, Battisti's fiction thus demands to be read through the lenses of contemporary exile and border theory in order to better comprehend the author's problematic relation to the current Italian and European sociopolitical context. Jeff Browitt's chapter focuses on what is claimed to be the first novel of emigration to the USA written in Spanish, the little-known Lucas Guevara by the Colombian emigre Alirio Diaz Guerra. Pub lished in 1914 in New York, Diaz Guevera's novel provides a vivid account of early twentieth-century New York City in which immigrants from many countries have converged, only to be ontologically destabilized by their experiences of an overwhelmingly secular "American" modernity, pervasive transcultural processes involving multiple ethnicities and races living in overcrowded proximity, and unfamiliar modes of capitalist morality and liberated sexuality. As Browitt puts it, on the level of overt content, the novel is a lachrymose diatribe against US society and its supposed libertine and materialistic values. Yet, despite that frame, the novel gestures toward an exilic
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image of Diaz Guerra himself as a displaced, disenchanted intellectual who suffers an acute cultural and class anxiety in the transition from a patrician Arcadia to the heart of capitalist, industrial modernity. Yet, the threatening "melting-pot" challenges laid bare in the novel do not quite align with the experiences of the text's real-world author. Diaz Guerra's class (and gender and racial) status enabled him to integrate seamlessly into New York's diasporic-elite Latin American commu nity, where he took entrepreneurial advantage of the business and pub lishing opportunities afforded by displacement. Browitt's chapter ends with a discussion of how Diaz Guerra's representation of exile contrasts with, and provides a decidedly less celebratory alternative to, that now emblematic Latin American exile figure, the nineteenth century Cuban intellectual and independence advocate, Jose Marti. As a paradigm of Latin American, and specifically Cuban, politi cal exile, Jose Marti also haunts the chapters by Olga Lorenzo and Marivic Wyndham, both of whom are products of the first wave of exile generated by the Cuban Revolution. Their autobiographically modulated contributions are of note for introducing an Australian perspective to an exile condition conventionally thought of, and critiqued, as arising from the uneasy stand off between the USA and Cuba since 1959, and geospatially and culturally overdetermined by the mass exodus of some ten percent of the Cuban population across the Florida Strait to south Florida after the Revolution. Lorenzo's chapter reflects on her own and other Cuban American writers' fictional works in order to reveal how mechanisms of shame have dominated the Cuban exile imagination in the USA and elsewhere, including Australia. For Lorenzo shame does not simply generate an intense and intransigent nostalgia for the lost Cuban home. It also precludes dissent and prevents individuals, families, and communities from reconciling themselves to the past, hence the rigidity of Cuban communal attitudes to citizenship, identity, and ethnic separatism. As Lorenzo argues, these attitudes erupt at various stages in the identity discourses and cultural identities of Cuban exile. They also characterize literary products that may memorialize the homeland as a part of a broader exile project to impede, erode, or retard the process of assimilation and thus preserve cultural identity. In some cases, memorialization of the homeland goes hand in hand with degrading the majority culture and shaming those members of the minority who are suspected of moving towards assimilation. Shaming is also deployed by the majority culture to desig-
nate difference and inferiority in the minority exilic culture. Faced with those antagonistic drives, Lorenzo asserts the need for writers to foreground exilic shame and thus "force it to shrivel in the glare of, for example, literary acceptance." In Marivic Wyndham's "Dying in the New Country," the author, like Lorenzo a product of exile from Cuba, and of (Australian) exile from the Cuban exile community in south Florida, embarks on a lyri cal personal journey through the landscapes of memory and loss caused by her multiple displacements. As Wyndham says: "Before the great Cold War diaspora wrenched millions of Latin Americans from their homelands and thrust them to the fortunes of foreign lands, most of us from the region had assumed that the land of our birth would naturally also be the land of our death. In the case of my own family, when the unthinkable happened, and my parents' ageing generation of Cuban exiles found themselves marooned indefinitely on foreign shores, the specter of death in someone else's land seemed the cruelest blow of their long years of exile. They were not the first Cuban exiles to die so near, yet so far from their beloved island. But they were our parents." For Wyndham, exile is characterized by the constant confrontation of competing claims to, and familial narratives of, the preexile past, claims exacerbated by generational differences and adaptations, and prone to semantic collapse when framed by an as yet unrealized desire for a return to a Cuban time and place after Castro. Concluding the volume is a meditation from Devleena Ghosh that maps the many forms of exile evident in previous chapters while also suggesting productive avenues for thinking further about the relationship of exile to place, and about exile as a leitmotiv of contemporary displacement in an increasingly transnational world. For Ghosh the fundamental question posed by exile is, "How does one define the multivalent, multiplex condition of exile?" For her part, Ghosh identi fies four nodes of exilic aspiration and struggle—exile as the future "will be"; exile as a nostalgia for privilege; exile as geography; exile as language—which either singly or in combination enable and disable the capacity for those in exile to be politically engaged. Ghosh argues that there is a global imperative for that engagement: "In the globalized present, is exile an isolated disease or the warnings of a pandemic? Perhaps the insoluble enigma in the trope of geographic displacement is the timeless and eternal hostility of the nation forced to offer hospitality to the deracinated intruder, the exile, the asylum
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seeker, the illegal migrant. What does rootedness and location mean in this context? And what is their potential?" Those questions recur in some form in all the contributions to this book. They demonstrate, in agreement with Said, that more can and must be said about exile in the contemporary world, and not simply in order to deepen contemporary understandings of the complex forms that exile can take for communities and individuals in trans- and multinational settings. This book's essays, autobiographical meditations and creative responses are thus in accord with Kaplan's call for a "re sponsible" desimplification of exile and the critical claims made of it. As Kaplan says: "If anything, investigating the critical uses of exile may reinvigorate activism and resistance to state-sponsored terror by fostering a politically responsible cultural criticism" (1996: 141-42). The realities of exilic pain and loss, of struggle, aspiration and identity transmutation, and the metaphorical resonances of exile for many residents of modernity, continue to endure and evolve in the twenty-first century. Those realities and resonances impel the contributors to this volume to interrogate exile's multiple lived experiences and the multivalent uses to which exile, as both fact and trope, can be put in the contemporary world.
Becoming and Unbecoming Tu: Nation, Nationality and Exilic Agency in the People's Republic of China Susette Cooke Abstract In the making of modern states, a sense of exile may be produced through the discourse and agency of inclusion as much as exclusion. In the 1950s, China assigned an official ethnic category, or "nationality," to all its citizens, among them a group in northwest China who were registered as the "Tu nationality," despite their self-designation "Monguor." Constructed as Tu in the great fam ily of the Chinese nation by Chinese linguistic, cultural, and political deter minants, the Monguors found themselves in a state of exile from their own form of self-referencing, dispossessed from their own interpretation of origin, history, and identity. This chapter explores processes of Chinese culturalist classification of Others in the making of the modern Chinese state; how these worked to isolate the Tu from valued aspects of their self-identity; and how the Tu, given new opportunities in the post-reform period since 1978, have strategized to recover their own version of who they are.
The transition from empire to modern nation-state in the postcolonial world has not occurred only in those regions formerly dominated by European powers. Empires of ethnic and cultural diversity have van ished, in name at least, in East and Inner Asia too, though scholarly reappraisal of them as colonial regimes has emerged only recently (Millward 1998; Hostetler 2001). In the process of reconstructing such empires into nation-states, territorial boundaries might remain virtually intact before and after the shift in political authority, as the new state claimed full political control over swathes of territory hitherto considered border regions, and inhabited by peoples whose relationship to the former empire ranged from semi-inclusive to politically associative. In the case of the People's Republic of China (PRC), founded in 1949 and successor to the less than forty year-old Republic of China, lands in this category amounted to 60 percent of the political
mandate it claimed. Almost all of them wrapped around three sides of the historical Chinese Han heartland and lived, in the Chinese cultural imaginary, as the frontier. While all had experienced degrees of contact with Chinese states in the past, their new inclusion within a Chinese national body could be made now only because of imperialist expansion during the last dynasty, the Qing, itself of non-Chinese (Manchu) origin. As the Qing Empire (1644-1911) became modern China, the postimperial Chinese political rulers inherited the greater national estate as it was now conceived. But for the so-called border populations, occupying the greater proportion of the PRC's landholdings but comprising less than ten percent of its population, integration into the Chinese state threw up contingencies of identity more prerogative than in the past. An assumption of core and periphery had long informed Chinese conceptualizations of both its social and geographic body. The new Chinese government faced a formidable nation-building exercise after 1949, not only in resuscitating a war-ravaged economy and society, but also in formulating a national narrative to describe its demographic inheritance and convince those in the frontierlands that they belonged within it. The linguistic parameters of the narrative's demo graphic dimension were built around the term minzu, variously trans latable as nationality, ethnicity, or ethnic group, and its binary projec tion into majority and minority elements. Demographic New China, as narrated by the Communist party-state, consisted of the majority Han nationality and multiple but much smaller minority nationalities, who together formed the Chinese nation. Under the new regime these binaries would be governed differentially in terms of the projected pace of socioeconomic transformation on the path to socialism: the minorities would be granted limited autonomy in their home territories under the umbrella of the central national government. Contributing to the decision for differential treatment was the absence, or precarity, of a functioning Chinese administration in many of the regions inhabited by the minorities. As a first step to constructing one, the Central Government needed to know who made up the frontier populations. In the 1950s it embarked on an ethnic classification project to determine the nature, size, and "nationality characteristics" of those who qualified for minority nationality, and therefore regional autonomy, status. The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) minzu shibie [ethnic clas sification] project institutionalized conditions of identity, entitlement,
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and future expectations for the 35 million people who were not con sidered by the project's architects as belonging to the majority Han nationality. As putative citizens of the new PRC, whose essential national boundaries were uncontested internationally, they could not be seen as falling into an orthodox exilic state by way of geographic dislocation, except for those who left the PRC to become refugees in neighboring or more distant countries. Geographically non-Han peoples were to be more completely incorporated. But among those who remained, the upheavals experienced under the CCP's transformative program sometimes engendered traumatic isolation from familiar psychological sites and accustomed cultural expression, sufficient to warrant Said's description of an exile's "fundamentally discontinuous state of being" (2001: 177). Thus the most critical declaratory task the ethnic classification project took upon itself was the naming of the discrete "nationalities" it identified through its investigations. Some of the named entities felt no discontinuity between their self-conceptualization and the nationality conferred by the state. For others, the naming represented a disjuncture from how they had understood themselves in spatial or associative forms, or from the basic self-referencing of the name they called themselves. 1
The Tu One of the small groups to emerge in an official capacity from the project was the Tu. They numbered 53,277 in 1953 (Zhongguo 2000 2002), lived in Qinghai and Gansu Provinces in the frontier zone of Northwest China, spoke a distinct language, and practised a culture and livelihood reflecting a range of civilizational influences. From the Chinese perspective, the region was a sociocultural periphery northwest of the Chinese heartland, where many of the inhabitants stood well outside the norms of Chinese society and ethnic heritage. The Tu, whose culture included Mongol, Chinese, and Tibetan (especially Ti betan Buddhist) elements, were among the more integrated of the local border peoples, whose principal political loyalty had long been to s
The 1 Population Census 1953 recorded approximately 542 million Han and 35 million minority nationalities (Zhongguo 2000 2002: Table 1-1: from 1 Population Census 1953). For a striking example, see Mueggler (2001) on the Yi experience. st
Chinese dynasties. They had lived in the region for centuries, and the Communist victory did not dislodge them from their homeland. Under the PRC, they entered the Qinghai demographic profile as one of six main provincial nationalities, together with the Tibetans, Mongols, Hui, Salars, and the Han Chinese. They referred to themselves, however, as Monguors. Why were they not so named in the PRC's official nationality inventory? Euro pean observers who encountered them before 1949 also knew them as Monguors (Schram 1954; R6na-Tas 1966: 13), yet were aware the local Chinese referred to them as turen, a term normally translated into English as "natives" through its constituent parts: tu [earth, land, local] and ren [person, people]. If the Monguors and the Tu were one and the same people, what accounts for the official choice of a name apparently meaning "natives" over a self-appellation well known to outsiders? Did the Tu nationality's (Tuzu) name derive from local Chinese references to them as "natives"? Among the elements com piled into the nationality profile for the Tuzu during minzu shibie was a nationality-origin theory identifying an ancient border people of the Northwest, the Tuyuhun, as the Tuzu's earliest ancestors. The Tuyuhun could be cited in Chinese historical texts dating from the 5th century (Tuyuhunji 1973), though no-one in China, or anywhere, went by that identity now. A concurrence of the first syllable from this old name, "Tu," with the state-assigned name of the Tuzu seems like a sonic match, but the Chinese characters are written differently, indicating different terms. The written "Tu" component of Tuzu matches the "tu" of turen, not the "Tu" of "Tuyuhun." When local Chinese called the Monguors turen, were they inadvertently recalling the origins of the Monguors? Some prominent Chinese ethnographers made a case on these lines, and had it accepted in the official narration of the Tu nationality. During the PRC's ethnic classification project, then, a linguistic intersection, generated through the nature of the Chinese language, suspended the Monguors/Tu in a Chinese cultural framework. While the similarity between "Monguor" and "Mongol" could hardly be missed, and no-one disputed a linkage between "Monguor" 3
Most Tu lived in Qinghai, the only province in which they received administrative autonomy. Smaller concentrations of Tu in Gansu Province and other parts of the PRC were not granted autonomy. Zu as shorthand for minzu was appended to the designation of a nationality to indi cate its formal status, as in Tuzu (Tu nationality), Hanzu (Han nationality), and so on. 4
Becoming and Unbecoming Tu
and "Mongol" on linguistic grounds, the Mongol cultural element in their society, or local folklore of their largely Mongol origin, the state registered the Monguors as Tu. Acquiring a nationality identity from the state allowed the Tuzu to take their place in New China as equal socialist citizens, but with particularities deriving from their minority nationality status. Along with the fifty-four other registered minority nationalities, the Tu were granted titular autonomy in the areas of the PRC where they were most concentrated. The entitlements enjoyed in these autonomous administrative areas, at least rhetorically, by minority nationalities in China, and enshrined in the Constitution and law, signal an amalgam of historical, strategic, ideological, and culturalist factors. It appears to place the minority nationalities at an advantage over the majority Han in certain respects. While autonomy acknowledged historical occupation by non-Chinese sectors, it also served state consolidation strategy by incorporating these regions politically and nationalistically. In the merged discourse of Marxist societal evolution and Chinese culturalism by which the CCP managed heterogeneous populations, the minority nationalities were assessed as comparatively disadvantaged in relation to the more advanced Han. Through the twin mechanisms of socialist construction and the regional autonomy administration system now brought by the Party, the minorities could rise to a level of social, economic and cultural equality with the Han majority. Their official identification thus aimed to serve state, nation, and the minorities themselves in gaining control of their own destinies. In this context of inclusive nation-building and recognition of population diversity, in what sense were the Tu having an exilic experience? 5
The State Nationalities Affairs Commission, the Party's executive body for imple menting nationalities' policy, ultimately decided on a nationality's official name. Huzhu Tu Autonomous County, founded 1954, in which 22,660 of Qinghai's 51,835 Tu lived (Huzhu tuzu 1983: 9). In the 1980s titular autonomy shared by the Hui and Tu was granted to Datong and Minhe Counties. Minority policy confers preferential or lenient positions to minorities in areas such as education quotas, financial policies, poverty alleviation programs, and family plan ning, with variations applying at different policy periods. See "National Minorities" (1999), Sautman (1998), and Mackerras (1994). In the Constitution of 1982 the PRC defines itself as a unitary multi-nationality state (Constitution 1986: Preamble), in which the system of regional nationality autonomy serves national unification; see also the Government White Paper on "National Minorities" (1999). 6
Developments in the post-Mao reform period since 1978, when the Party adopted a more liberal agenda, indicate that the Tu were in fact feeling disassociated from their own version of the past. The Tuyuhun nationality origin and name theory, suggested during minzu shibie, had been written into orthodoxy in the early 1980s, as social reforms revived nationality studies. In the 1990s, Tu intellectuals began to challenge the Tuzu-as-Tuyuhun identity formulation on the grounds of its absence from internal Monguor tradition and evidence against it in the Chinese literary corpus from which it had emerged. Their quest to reconfigure their nationality's official profile involved a deconstruction of dominant Chinese cultural discourse, a potentially sensitive pursuit in the controlled environment of ethnic relations and national narrative in the PRC. Fundamentally their intellectual activi ties aimed at psychological recuperation: by removing barriers to meaningful self-identity produced by a modern state project and its cultural assumptions, the Tu could reclaim their heritage as Monguors. Tu "exile" and cultural citizenship State-imposed exile, as banishment of Chinese people to remote re gions (liufang), has been practiced regularly and on a large scale throughout Chinese history, often as a combined mechanism for punishment and empire-building. As fringe-dwellers of the Chinese sociocultural world it had no relevance to the Monguors. I thus examine the Tu in the PRC not because they experienced physical exile, or on the grounds that they suffered the trauma of psychological exile as a result of the naming process, but rather to explore processes of Chinese culturalist classification of Others in the making of the modern Chinese state, how these worked to isolate the Tu from valued aspects of their self-identity, and how the Tu, given the opportunity in the post-reform era, have strategized to recover their own version of who they are. This focus is suggestive of the psychological appeal of ethnicity in a modernizing world where pressures to compel active belonging emanate from state authorities who formulate both proposition and practice. As pointed out in the introduction to this volume, exilic agency needs to be rethought in accord with local times, cultures, and places. The Tu story is more about exilic agency than about a people 9
See Waley-Cohen (1991) for its practice in the Qing period.
Becoming and Unbecoming Tu
suffering Said's classic condition of exile, "the unhealable rift be tween a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home" but it is, as per Said, predicated on nationalism (2001: 173, 176). Exilic agency here consists of the Chinese state, its nationalistic minzu shibie project, and Han culturalism emanating from China's Confucian past and its reformulation within socialist ideology. These factors combined then determine possibilities for social change and cultural citizenship for the Tu in the Chinese context. Ironically, the Chinese nationalist project that created the Tuzu aimed at inclusiveness rather than rejection, let alone "a condition legislated to deny dignity" or "identity" (Said 2001: 175). Yet under the momentum of national belonging and development, the Tu experienced loss of dignity and identity when they were registered in the idiom of Chinese culturalism as a component of an immense and determined whole, the Chinese nation-state. In becoming Tuzu in the great family of the Chinese nation, the Monguors found themselves exiled—or at least dis possessed—from their own interpretation of their origins, history, and identity, by the official state narrative and its instrumental agent, ethnic classification. This form of exile by inclusion seems paradoxical until the universalizing tendencies of Chinese cultural cosmography and politybuilding are recalled. As a universalizing schema, Confucian orthodoxy visualized the world as a scaled moral order, measured in degree of adherence to wenhua [culture] that was conceived unidimensionally as the corpus of Chinese literary practice and its embodied moral norms. Culture was transcendent and encompassing, bypassing ethnic and geographic boundaries to admit all participants. A people could thus be evaluated by the relativeness of their practice of wenhua and categorized accordingly as barbaric or civilized. Empire construction, in its discursive and geopolitical dimensions, followed this ordering proposition by sitting the emperor at the symbolic and virtuous center of the world, "towards which peoples would naturally gravitate, paying homage and offering obedience" (Hostetler 2001: 205). The Chinese literary archive made clear distinctions of cultural belonging by naming those groups who lay outside the domain of civi lization. The naming of such barbarians-by-definition was undertaken seriously if not always accurately, just as the merging of barbarians into the civilized social body was noted in the historical record. The process implied moral progression, but in practice meant their disap-
pearance as distinct entities. Monguors inhabited a shadowy niche in the Chinese record of the Northwest in the sense that, while they were certainly there, they were neither (still) barbarian nor (yet) civilized. Without a name they were simply "natives" in the regional social landscape. This lack of specificity implies that they were on their way to becoming civilized and would, when the process was complete, be indistinguishable at least in literary terms from the rest of the "peo ple." The positive trajectory towards inclusiveness, and the moralist attraction of the center in the Confucian model, were easily appropriated by post-imperial modernizers as the conceptual basis of the "Chinese nation." The Communist project, ideologically committed to the equality of all citizens in the multiethnic unitary state, justified its un equal assessment of Han and minority nationalities on grounds of sci entific social evolution, the Marxist doctrine of progression through stages of socioeconomic development that, applied by the Party to the Chinese situation, defined most of the minorities at a less advanced stage than the Han (Harrell 1995a: 22-24). Recognition of nationality distinctiveness and consequent entitlements was nevertheless timesensitive, admitted in current circumstances but predicated on their inevitable disappearance in the final future realization of pure socialism. Functionally this operated as a unidirectional process of transformation, whereby the minorities would become increasingly like the Han, merging with them on the path to socialism and discarding those aspects of their cultures that impeded socialist development (Harrell 1995a: 27). The Han, too, were expected to lose non-progressive cultural characteristics, though fewer than the minorities because they were more advanced. The Chinese socialist model, indebted to historical Chinese culturalism, privileged the majority Han as the mainstream measure of quality, while politics, institutions, socioeconomic policies and coercive power emanating from Beijing set the framework of possible action. In that environment, where did the line lie between maintaining nationality identity and assimilation? Neither the Confucian nor the Communist cultural-national projects saw advantage in remaining outside the Chinese norm. When the PRC named its demographic components in the ethnic classification project, minority nationalities were made distinct but integral, part of the greater national whole. Unlike some minority nationalities, the Monguors had no overt resistance to
Becoming and Unbecoming Tu
being Chinese. For them the identity disjunctive derived from the ob scuring power and fixating impressions of the name given to them as a distinct group under minzu shibie. As a product of the ethnic classifi cation project and its Chinese culturalist assumptions, the "Tuzu" category separated them from the heritage and identification symbolized by "Monguor." Producing the Tuzu Monguor ethnocultural production undoubtedly owes much to the multiethnic, multicultural frontier zone of Inner Asia, within which the Monguors lived for many centuries. The story of how the Tu got their name in the 1950s, however, is located above all in the reverential regard in which Chinese-language texts are held in Chinese society, a clear example of the way that "the practices of literary culture are practices of attachment" (Breckenridge et al. 2002: 594). NonChinese peoples have been embedded in the classical Chinese literary repertoire for millennia, meriting separate chapters in dynastic histories and are scattered through the normative literary production of annals, treatises, political compendia, and poetry (Cooke 1993). Their literary presence attached them to the Chinese worldview, in which their conceptualization was also normative, juxtaposed to the Chinese and their domain as the barbarians beyond civilization, negatively located in a geographic and moral cosmography. Boundaries could change across physical space and lived experience: Chinese political borders fluctuated significantly over time, and civilizational status could be compromised or enhanced by the degree of a people's participation in the Chinese cultural sphere. The literary trope of "beyond the passes," or "within the passes," epitomized in physical form by the Chinese Great Wall/s, reflected the dynamic of history in the actual contestation for power and resources between those inside and outside the Chinese polity. Once conquered and governed, many non-Chinese former outsiders gradually became undifferentiated from the majority Chinese population—min [the peo ple]—under assimilationist pressures. For those not yet among the "people," historic classification recognized them in terms of their relation to the Chinese and Chinese culture by a generalized division into shufan [cooked barbarians]—considered civilized, or sinicized, by the Chinese—and shengfan [raw barbarians], who maintained their own
customs and were beyond Chinese government control (Brown 1996: 38). Under these terms the frontier-dwelling Tu were cooked, due to their relative exposure to Chinese culture, their practice of agriculture, and long-term participation in the imperial border management system. Ironically, this closeness may in part have obscured their selfidentity in the PRC's administrative makeover, which proceeded in the first instance through minzu shibie [ethnic classification]. The PRC's minzu shibie project, launched in the idealistic nationfounding phase of the early 1950s, was carried out by hundreds of ethnographers who worked under the countervailing influences of political ideology and received tradition (McKhann 1995: 61-62). After conducting their research in the border region, they submitted their findings to national authorities for the final imprimatur of nationality classification. The PRC's ideological imperatives required them to work within Stalin's ethnographic blueprint when evaluating a group's qualification for nationality identity: common language, territory, economic life, and psychological makeup, manifesting as culture (McKhann 1995: 47). Yet as educated men (and a few women) they also worked through the intellectual heritage of the Chinese past, with the Chinese literary tradition's categories for ethnic groups. The hasty nature of the investigations driven by political pressures and often unfamiliar, unstable local conditions sometimes impelled them to include local Chinese interpretations of neighboring societies. Thus while they labored within a modernist, socialist theoretical framework, the final contours of their ethnographic map of China reflected the classic categories of border peoples from existing Chinese texts, fixing them in the administrative lexicon of the new socialist state's discourse on nation. 10
The Monguors qualified easily for minority nationality status under Stalin's criteria. Most of them lived in districts near Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province in northwest China. They spoke a distinct language, engaged in the subsistence agro-pastoral economy common to many inhabitants of the frontier zone, and practiced customs that, though derived from multiple sources, contained elements unique to their communities. In one respect, however, the Monguors presented an enigma: their origins. Origins were required to explain the national10
For political reasons this research was not published until the 1980s. Examples of such incomplete and derivative information from the vestigations of the Tu may be found in Qinghai tuzu (1985). 11
Becoming and Unbecoming Tu
ity formation process, through which an orthodox Chinese national evolution could be produced (Huzhu tuzu 1993: 501-2; Lu Jianfu 2002: 2). According to this narrative, at some point in time each na tionality was formed after a "long historical process": in time all the nationalities collectively fused into the Chinese nation. Nationality classification legitimated the process of national construction and defined the "timeless, scientifically unimpeachable" nature of the cate gories defined, which in turn fed the intellectualized legitimacy of their involvement in the evolution of the Chinese nation (McKhann 1995: 47). The Tuzu's origins thus had to be discovered, but here the PRC ethnographers found the information discrepant. Earlier observ ers—Westerners and late-Qing Chinese—had remarked on the mysterious and multiple origins of the Monguors. The controversy involved several theories but, through the minzu shibie project, came to entail two viewpoints: the Tu were of mainly Mongol origin (hence called themselves Monguors), or they originated from an ancient frontier people, known in Chinese sources as the Tuyuhun. In this ancient Tuyuhun origin, some Chinese ethnographers saw the derivation of the local Chinese term turen. At this point we return to Chinese texts. Text and vernacular: cultural origins of a name China's rich historical record, preoccupied with government, precedent and continuity, has both confirmed and obscured the identities of its border populations. A people, called Tuyuhun by Chinese scholars, certainly lived and flourished in the Northwest from the 4th to the 7th centuries CE (Zhou Weizhou 1985; Mole 1970). Migrating from the Huluunbuir region in what is now Liaoning Province (part of former Manchuria) in the 3rd century, this proto-Mongol people established an extensive empire across present day Qinghai, Southern Xinjiang and part of Gansu, until their power was destroyed by the Tibetan Empire in 663 CE. Many Tuyuhun leaders and their followers subse quently moved out of their former territories to become dispersed among Chinese and other regional populations, while others were incorporated under the Tibetan imperial banner. References to the Tuyuhun, or anyone identified as ancestrally Tuyuhun, disappeared from Chinese sources by the 10th century (Yang Yingju 1988: 960-61). In 1746, however, the Qing scholar Yang Jingju published his Xiningfu xinzhi [New Annals of Xining Prefecture], in which three
families from Hezhou in Gansu, whose ancestors are described as turen, appeared as early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) guards at a fron tier post in Qinghai (Yang Yingju 1988: 411). Thereafter the turen began to show up in Chinese texts more frequently, located in the districts in Qinghai where most Tuzu live today. Yet even in Yang's work, the prime Qing treatise on the Xining region, these turen are curiously nebulous. Other local populations rated often lengthy commentaries on their society and culture, while the turen received no ethnographic citation, turning up only as "natives" distinguished from the "people," that is, the Chinese subjects of the Qing (Yang Yingju 1988: 619). Given the author's long official service in the region and intention to produce the definitive prefectural annals, this lack of detail seems puzzling until the turen's status in the Chinese imperial gaze is taken into account. By the mid-1700s, the turen had become "cooked," sufficiently integrated into the border administration and even Chinese culture that some of their tusi [chieftains] and tuguan [officials] were no different from "the people": paying the grain tax, rendering corvee, studying the Chinese classics, and living among the Han. Some no longer spoke the tuyu [local language]. These characteristics distinguished them favorably from local chieftains elsewhere along the borders, who remained nanxun [hard to tame] (Yang Yingju 1988: 619). To Chinese settlers migrating to the area since the days of Ming border colonization, these people were simply "natives," local non-Chinese of long if indeterminate historical residence. If the settlers were aware of the turen's ethnogenesis, such knowledge might not figure in the name they used for their neighbors. The 18th century author of the "New Annals of Xining Prefecture" recorded them as turen with the Chinese characters for "natives," not for Tuyuhun, and nor did he link the turen historically with this ancient and now vanished people (Yang Yingju 1988). 12
How can we be certain the Qing-era turen are the Monguors of today? Yang's "Annals" nowhere identified turen as Monguors. By the 19th century, late Qing works on the Northwest contained only perfunctory references to the turen, for whom the "cooking" process 12
Few Ming-era references to turen have come to light (Li Keyu 1986: 361-62). See Yang Yingju (1988: 619); also noted by Schram in the 1920s among comments on the subject by local literati (1954: 26). Both sources employ the character tu in its meaning of "local" or "native," as applied in Chinese border environments generally. 13
Becoming and Unbecoming Tu
seems to have been so well advanced no more need be said about them. A comparison of post-imperial and Qing-era literary informa tion concerning them, however, leaves no doubt of their coincidence, even in the uncertainty over their ethnogenesis. In the early 20th cen tury, with its more modernist intellectualizations of China's border populations among Chinese ethnographers and political concerns en gendered by Republican state and nation-building, the Monguors re tained their indefinite textual presence as turen, overshadowed by more critical threats to stability from regional Tibetans, Mongols, and Hui (Zhou Zhenhe 1938; Xu Kongwu 1943). But some Chinese ob servers and ethnographers remarked that the turen called themselves Monguors and Western commentators also mentioned it, so the terms were designating the same people. Sources for the Tuzu simply as turen therefore abound before 1949, but the hint of a connection with the Tuyuhun had apparently appeared in the final years of the Qing dynasty among some local Chinese scholars curious about the Monguors' origins. The Belgian missionary-anthropologist Schram, who heard of this notion from such scholars while conducting research among the Monguors in the 1920s, neither supported nor rejected the theory (1954: 26). He also made no claim to finding it among either Monguor or local Chinese traditions of Monguor/turen origins, but noted it as a minor component of regional lore on the Monguors gathered by another Western explorer-ethnographer (Schram, citing Tafel, 1954: 25). Republicanera Chinese observers who encountered it also regarded it skeptically (Xu Kongwu 1943: 105). In a 1955 paper the noted Mongolist Henry Serruys, more interested in ethnohistory than the taxability of Chinese border subjects or a Chinese nation-building project, unequivocally identified the Monguors with the Mongols via linguistic, adaptive, or origin links, confining tu in Chinese vernacular and literary sources to the sole meaning of native/land (1952-1955: 257-58). The consensus from these sources pointed to a Mongol-origin theory, based on successive waves of Mongols into the region from the 10th to the 16th centuries (Li Keyu 1986). Although the minzu shibie executors 14
Schram's comprehensive compilation of pre-1949 Western researchers' views on Monguor origin, beginning with Huc and Gabet in 1845, overwhelmingly supports Mongol ethnogenesis (1954: 23-26).
probably had no access to Schram's or Serruys's work, many local traditions of Monguor origin were available for their consideration. The Tuyuhun theory appears principally as an elite proposition considered only by some old Chinese literati. Thus between the Ming and the modern period, the people now identified as the Tu became crystallized in Chinese vernacular as the turen, an appellation retained in Chinese texts and colloquial usage until 1949. In this accessible guise the Chinese ethnographers of minzu shibie encountered them. As related by a prominent participant in the naming project, "The Han and Hui call them turen or tumiri" (Mi Yizhi 1995). Chinese cultural imperialism had rendered these people "natives" in local and literary usage. While little is known of the final decision-making processes, over time the new state's ethnographers seem to have opted for their own texts and language to identify the group as Tu, a nationality-naming process paralleled elsewhere in the PRC (Harrell 1995b). When the choice was embellished in the 1980s by decisively connecting it with the Tuyuhun, the Tuzu became products of Chinese historical consciousness as much as of history. 16
Exilic states When the Monguors became the Tuzu, in what sense, if any, were they exiled, and if so, from what? The CCP's socialist program, ideologically and nationalistically, aimed at inclusiveness, to bring groups like the Monguors who were marginal to Chinese society, culture, and political body into the core, not remove or block them from it. But the minzu shibie project's formalizing of their identity as Tuzu via Chinese textual interpretation and colloquial Han Chinese usage constructed the framework for their future self-referencing. The state's formal identification of the Monguors as Tu inserted them into the national population management program. It also construed their past out of its own cultural heritage with its assumptive notions of Han superiority (Harrell 1995a: 26-27). Whatever the facts of the Monguors' ethnogenesis, minzu shibie fixed them in a self-serving Han-centric narrative of national evolution in which Monguor identity was deSchram's work was not published until 1954, Serruys's in 1955. Schram and other Western researchers were not mentioned in the minzu shibie publications. The Hui, like the Han, are Chinese speakers. 1 6
Becoming and Unbecoming Tu
duced from Chinese historiography and drawn self-consciously from both upper (educated) and lower (locals) strata of Chinese society. The process dispossessed the Monguors of their name and past, laying out a space for them in which they were bound to experience something like Said's "discontinuous sense of being" (2001). This estrangement by inclusiveness in another's worldview typi cally happens through assimilatory pressures on indigenes. In negoti ating the new environment, they must evaluate the desirability of in clusion or distinction under the circumstances. Fitting in may require giving up one's previous identity, a morally condoned development in the Confucian model of becoming civilized (Heberer 2005). Minzu shibie formally gave the Monguors a distinguishing identity, but the authoritarian, centering, and nationalistic mode of the PRC denied them the power to self-identify. It confined them instead to a space of representation constructed by dominant Chinese linguistic and culturalist determinants, an exilic state in relation to their own form of self-referencing. For the first time in thirty years, the possibility of reconfiguring that space, within limits, opened for minority nationalities like the Tuzu when the CCP embarked on its reform and openingup policies in the early 1980s. The next section considers the impact of this new discursive space on Tuzu identity formulations. Social change: state, policy, and internal agency Rhetorically, the PRC claims that all its citizens have the right to participate in the nation's social development, through the representation of their interests by the CCP and by forms of local administration— particularized in the national minority areas by regional autonomy. As a very small nationality within the gigantic Chinese national body, the Tu may not expect to effect social change in their environment beyond a highly localized space, and in fact have been the recipients of major social change engineered outside their frame of potential influence. Nevertheless, a temporal divide based on policy changes does color consideration of their situation as exiled subjects. Periodization of PRC history now falls customarily into two distinct time frames arising from political decisions made by the CCP: pre and post reform. Briefly, after the first three revolutionary decades 1949-1978 domi nated by the person and policies of Mao Zedong, China retreated from its revolutionary socialist trajectory when Party leaders adopted a pro-
gram of relative economic and social liberalization at a meeting in December 1978. As well as restructuring key aspects of its economic practice, the CCP allowed cautious reevaluation of certain pre-reform social and cultural policies, a change particularly significant for the minority nationalities who, by the very nature of their differentiation from the Han mainstream, had experienced sociocultural dislocation since the PRC's founding. In the process of deconstructing facets of society and ideological assertions deemed orthodox in the pre-reform period, minority nationalities found themselves with expanded opportunities for identity affirmation, at least compared to the recent past. State agencies, too, found opportunities for their own reformulation of attitudes towards the minorities in the post-reform period. Administratively, regional autonomy was reaffirmed through a new Law on Regional Nationality Autonomy in 1984, followed by extension of titular autonomy for some nationalities, including the Tu who became joint title-holders with the Hui in Datong and Minhe counties in the Xining region. During the 1980s, amid the revival of nationality studies that had been defunct since the early 1960s, a series of statecommissioned works on China's minority nationalities was published, amounting to a new national project for "minorities" scholars. Much of the material in the publications drew on the ethnographic investigations made by minzu shibie scholars in the 1950s, suppressed from public view in the intervening years. Updated to the early reform era and presented in the context of China's current nationalities discourse, these concise histories and surveys of the autonomous areas provided a new and accessible orthodoxy on the history and society of each minority nationality, as well as glimpses into contested nationality identity debates left over from the defining moment of the state ethnic classification project a generation earlier. 17
Confluences and divergences revealed within the new stateminority discussion reopened the question of the Tuzu's identity. In the two principal volumes of the early 1980s concerning the Tuzu, the Tuzu jianshi [Concise History of the Tu Nationality] (1982) and Huzhu Tuzu zizhixian gaikuang [Survey of Huzhu Tu Autonomous County] (1983), the controversy over their name and origins received 17
See note 8. See Dangdai Qinghai (1991: 418) and McKhann (1995: 46, n. 12) for information on this series. The Han, as the majority nationality, were not included in the series. 18
Becoming and Unbecoming Tu
extensive coverage, but again it was conducted largely through refer ence to Chinese texts and the burden of proof they could or could not bring to bear on the naming of the Tu. Five ethnogenesis theories were discussed in detail, but the official conclusion emphasized—caiqu [chose]—the Tuyuhun origin theory (Tuzu jianshi 1982; Huzhu Tuzu 1983). Who was the official voice, and why did it make that choice? Although ethnic Tu were among the editorial staff for the original and revised versions of these publications, the new volumes' compilers worked under the direction of the local county Party Committee and the Qinghai Province Nationalities Questions Committee, then passed their work through these agencies for authorization and revision, a process ensuring conformity to Party orthodoxies. The results also reflected resurgent scholarly activity as such, repressed and decimated in human and intellectual terms for two decades. In this changed so cial milieu, the assessment of China's most distinguished ethnohistorian of the Northwest seems to have decided the debate on Tuzu ethnogenesis. Mi Yizhi was among the scholars investigating commu nities of the Northwest during the ethnic classification project. While the Tuyu-hun origin theory for the Tuzu was mooted during this time, a draft version of the Huzhu tuzu [Survey of Huzhu], issued as an in ternal document in 1963, mentions it as one of several origin theories, not the most important one, and nor was the origin question finally decided (Qinghaisheng Huzhu 1963: 7-9). But when the revised works on Tu nationality appeared in the early 1980s, Tuyuhun origin was confirmed. As Mi Yizhi's own substantial studies were published during the reform period, the derivation of privileged Tuyuhun origin theory became clear: the official Tuzu volumes reproduced his arguments virtually verbatim. In a traditional Chinese cultural environment Mi Yizhi's broad scholarly reach conferred authentication on his arguments, and still carried the day after three decades of multinational, unitary state ideology, with its nod to national minority participation. His conclusions on Tuyuhun origin arose within the Chinese textual archive to reproduce a Chinese culturalist identification, the Tuzu as archaic Tuyuhun, based on the apparent convergence of the tu vernacular and the textual Tu. 20
Huzhu tuzu (1983: 128, editorial postscript). These include nine major collections on historical ethnography, and the edited Huanghe shangyou (1995). 21
Yet as the new openness produced a growing class of Tu intellec tuals, challenges to this identification began to appear in regional scholarly journals. Reform-era Tu scholars emphasized the Monguor name and the group's Mongol ethnocultural heritage, even refuting the Tuyuhun origin theory as a mistaken line of evidence (Li Keyu 1986; Li Shenghua 2004: 149-60). Trained in the PRC's education system, they were aware of the linguistic and culturalist processes that produced them as Tuzu, and based their rejection not only on their own cultural traditions and experience, but also by reference to the same Chinese textual archive utilized by Han scholars like Mi Yizhi (Li Shenghua 2004: 149; Li Keyu 1986: 360). Their arguments, while engaging for linguistic and historical reasons, are less salient to the present essay than the airing of internal perspective and the light cast on the broadening social and intellectual spaces of reform-era nationality discourse. Citing Harrell, Thomas Heberer (2005: 5) has noted the multiple patterns of ethnic classification in which official, scholarly, and selfidentifying discourses are performed in China today. In their public position as intellectuals, Tu scholars must stand astride all these in their reevaluation of their nationality's identity and history, but they have been able to use their familiarity with, and the dicta of, the first two—official and scholarly discourses—in the service of the third, self-identification. Post-reform openness refashioned nationality discourse from homogeneity by repression and imminent socialist transformation into a decelerated process of nationality consolidation and self-development in the nation at large. Party-state programs still set discursive parameters and developmental frameworks: the provisional granting of voice to nationalities allowing articulation of legitimate nationality consciousness remained subordinate to the goal of economic development, but even more critically to national unity and social stability strategies. Within this context, the Tu intellectuals' in terest in their nationality's naming process reflected the coincidence of crisis and increased self-awareness that often accounts for growing ethnic consciousness (Heberer 2005: 1). Pre-reform forced assimilation, followed by the reform-era's wider social disruptions through rapid economic change, promoted a stronger sense of ethnic identity 22
Inaugurated in 2000, a major state project that focused on these concerns, the Cam paign to "Open Up the West," included the autonomous areas and their ethnic popula tions in its developmental sights (D.S.G. Goodman 2004a; Li Dezhu 2000).
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among many minority nationalities than had existed in pre-PRC China and prior to their official classification. In the more liberal cultural climate of the 1980s and 1990s minority scholars made vigorous ex plorations into their ethnicities' pasts, cultures, and even future aspirations. Reaction to processes of change in their communities directed from above by Han Chinese underpinned much of the ethnic represen tatives' discussion, although this could rarely be made explicit. Tu efforts at recovering their cultural heritage began with language re form and the revival of religious practices, along with the relatively positive assessments of Tu culture in the official compendia on the Tu nationality mentioned above. Questioning of the orthodoxy on their Tuyuhun origin appeared a decade or so after publication of the official Tuzu story, by which time scholarly and literary production in Qinghai Province had reached unprecedented levels of activity and range of permitted discussion. Their argument deconstructed the merger of tu and Tu proposed by Han scholars to explain Monguor origins, summoning evidence from the Chinese literary archive together with the sociological explanation of turen from local Chinese vernacular. Privileging instead the Monguors' Mongol links over sev eral centuries, these Tu scholars reconstructed their nationality's pro file by reference to a portfolio of evidence of dominant (Han) cultural sources and internal self-identity, a path that could lead them out of the obscuring, displacing the tu/Tu referent towards an authentic identity as Monguors. 23
Incremental changes have occurred in the social landscape since the reforms, not least the fact that nationality studies are now an approved mainstream academic field in the PRC. Discourse on Tuzu identity has also continued to evolve. In the subsequent edition of the "Huzhu Tu Autonomous County Annals," published in 1993 a decade after the early reform-period edition, Tuzu origin was presented as an amalgam of Tuyuhun and Mongol elements (Huzhu tuzu 1993: 501), while some current official channels do not even mention the Tuyuhun origin theory, opting to discuss Mongol origin and ethnocultural connection as internal claims of the Tu nationality (China Internet Information Center 2005). Among Chinese academics the debate continues.
On language and education see Zhu Yongzhong and Stuart (1999); for the Tibetan Buddhist revival see Pu Wencheng (1990).
While carefully affirming the benefits of official nationality iden tity and, for the present, accepting the registered Tuzu name as a leg acy of minzu shibie, the Tu intellectuals' case against Tuyuhun origin reflected deep shifts in the PRC's ideological environment. Social change directed from above allowed them enough maneuverability in the confined space of identity formulation to rediscover their history, challenge the Han-state monopoly on historical interpretation, and engage in recuperative remembering as they reconstructed their nationality's identity. Under post-reform policy these activities un blocked the structure that created the exilic condition of removal from self-perceived identity. It remains to be considered whether the Tu's new self-consciousness and its open expression has brought the Tu cultural citizenship in post-reform China. Cultural citizenship Conceived as social practices that claim and establish a group's distinct space in a society, wherein they feel a sense of belonging and membership (Flores and Benmayor 1997), cultural citizenship broadly encompasses the self-expressive experiences of minorities as different as Latinos in the USA and Tuzu in the PRC, though its meaning is relative and contingent. Latinos and Tuzu both live in massive national societies with mixed ethnic populations, whose national ideologies give recognition to ethnocultural diversity but whose ethnic minorities feel pressured by a dominant cultural paradigm supported by a powerful political and economic structure. Beyond that broad framework of restriction, profound contextual differences and consequent differences in possibilities for social change reveal the highly localized nature of cultural citizenship, conceptually and functionally. Under the circumstances exile, too, becomes relative and particularized. Ethnic identity in China is formalized by state system and categorization, in a polity dominated politically and culturally by the 92 percent Han Chinese majority. In 2000 the 241,198 Tuzu comprised only 0.23 percent of China's total minority nationality population, itself only 8 percent of the national total. Pressures of assimilation into the mainstream society and potential exclusion from a self-determined culture are thus extreme for the Tuzu in the PRC. At the same time, China grants titular autonomy to the minority nationalities in 60 percent of the national territory in acknowledgement of their long histori-
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cal habitation of these areas. This administrative approach suggests that all of the PRC's nationalities are indigenous, since inclusion occurred not through human movement into China, but the geographic extension of political embrace. The current ideology of Chinese culture's multiple origins is a strategy for describing this process, en twined with the notion of the natural attraction of the advanced Han culture during interethnic relations. Minority autonomy and the Chi nese national narrative thus disclaim the possibility of physical exile for the Tu, already in their "homeland" on both counts. Citizenship in China, a basic term of reference in the Constitution and legal system, involves some individual rights but is also heavily concerned with duties towards the state and its goals. Any discussions or social spaces concerning culture are footnotes to key state goals of unity, stability, and economic development, including in the nationality autonomous areas. The sociopolitical environment in which minorities like the Tuzu may configure their cultural citizenship is bounded by overriding national, collective considerations as described, for instance, in the following public statement on current policy direction: "Development is the last word and stability is the most important task...The interests of the country, the interests of the nation and the interests of the people are always the number one pursuit of each citizen" (Renmin ribao 2005). The distinct timeframes dividing PRC history into pre-reform and post-reform periods allow differences of scope but not, as yet, deviation from such goals for practices of cultural citizenship. Cultural citizenship in pre-reform China, if the term had been encountered, would have meant full participation in the socialist project. In more culturally liberal post-reform China, cultural citizenship is still contingent on participating in national development plans constructed in Beijing. Minority nationality "characteristics" are now dreamed into the fabric of the plans as vectors for development through tourism, border trade, and potential for greater integration of the Chinese national whole. For segments of the Chinese population like the Tuzu, trying to maintain their cultures (in lands they have long inhabited) under the integrative pressures of unity, stability, and economic development prescribed by the party-state, the Confucian universalizing order based on cultural belonging has morphed into modernist social homogenization. Although the PRC avows itself as a unitary multiethnic state, manifested in the administrative system of regional nationality auton-
omy, the mechanics of economic development involve greater blend ing of China's diverse demographic elements, conducted through minzu tuanjie [unity of the nationalities], aka the "new socialist ethnic relations" of socialist modernization—unity, equality, and mutual aid. Cultural belonging under these conditions is measured by the degree of socialist modernization attained. By this functional assess ment most of the national minorities lag behind the Han, and they fear the consequences of comparatively low-level economic development. In terms of culture, however, their concern is maintenance of their distinctiveness in the face of the development juggernaut that threat ens to engulf them. Cultural citizenship, like exile, bears a strong relationship to na tionalism and power. The PRC's national ideology constrains it in three ways on the basis of permissible terms of discussion: (1) minority nationalities cannot be considered subordinate communities due to the unity and equality of the nationalities; (2) legal and constitutional limitations turn on perceived threats to the unity of the nationalities; (3) minority nationalities are seen as already enjoying the rights of all Chinese citizens, and more—entitlements in the autonomous areas take into account their perceived "backward" socioeconomic and cul tural stages of development. Although titular autonomy by no means assures cultural preservation for the titleholders, it may well impact on concepts of cultural citizenship acceptable to the minority nationalities, at least within the range of conceivable possibilities. But cultural citizenship for the ethnic minorities is not a decisive factor in the politics of the PRC, because the 92 percent Han majority hold political, coercive, and economic power. They are anxious to maintain that power given the regional titular autonomy of the minorities over more than half of China's state territory: national strategic concerns are at the forefront of official discourse and policy on the autonomous areas. In other words, the 8 percent minority nationalities are not an important political constituency in authoritarian, Han-dominant China; nor will their numbers grow through immigration. Their importance lies in the existence of the autonomy system that recognizes them by ethnicity, culture, and place, and theoretically offers them a limited guarantee of their distinctiveness for a long time to come (Harrell 1995a: 24
See Mao Gongping and Wang Tiezhi (2002: 7) and Li Dezhu (2000: 22-25). Internal migration, rather than immigration, has been the issue in historical and contemporary China. 2 51
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27). Thus in the Chinese context, their right to assert their cultural citizenship in that place would seem incontestable. Counteracting that right, however, is the formidable range of political, cultural, and demographic cards held by the Han majority in the Chinese state, not the least of which is current state ideology of national development, and the fact that the Han state remains the articulator of minzu rights. When Tu scholars began to reclaim their Monguor identity in the 1990s, the form and substance of their challenge did not transgress permissible legal or political boundaries, or current official discourse. Nevertheless it represented a bold assertion of self-identity in the interests of recovering their nationality's name, past, ancestry, and memory. Conclusion Unbecoming Tu remains an active process for the Monguors. Their identity as Tuzu has been institutionalized since the minzu shibie pro ject of the 1950s, an element of the genesis of a multinationality uni tary New China, whose nationalistic hopes and goals have weighed heavily. Aware of the sensitivities embedded in the field of nationality relations, Monguors know they must engage judiciously in discussion of their identity, history, and aspirations. They must also navigate the state's paramount developmental paradigm, which encompasses the minority nationalities and their autonomous areas as energetically as it does the rest of Chinese society. Having become Tu through the his torical operation of Han Chinese cultural imperialism, they may be able to claim a Monguor cultural space and identity by maneuvering through the predominant cultural stratum via its own mechanisms: Chinese textuality, legitimized post-reform nationality studies, and the nominal grants to minority nationalities of broader cultural expression. Whether the Monguor name may one day replace that of the Tu in the official register of nationalities—not an articulated goal to date—is a future question, and one which speaks to subversion of the exilic agencies that produced the Tuzu. More immediately, the place of the local in determining identity and providing a ground for its performance cannot be overstated in the case of such a highly localized people. Tu scholars are exploring an intellectual path towards dignity for Monguors within the prescribed sphere of ethnocultural identification. At issue is whether the acceptance of Tuzu as Monguors in their local
context will free them of their sense of historical and identity dis placement. The outcome will be shaped by dynamic processes underway but not concluded, in which the self-sustaining power of a sense of dignity should not be underestimated.
Exile as Nationality: The Salar of Northwest China David S. G. Goodman Abstract The reform of state socialism came relatively late to Qinghai Province in the Northwest of the People's Republic of China. One of Qinghai's most dy namic groups in the social leadership of reform has been the Salar, one of the officially recognized nationalities identified in the PRC during the 1950s. A relatively small group of some 100,000 people living along the upper reaches of the Yellow River, on the borders of Qinghai and Gansu Provinces, the Salar are committed to both Islam and China, and believe that they live in permanent exile. While there is considerable uncertainty about their origins, my recent research in Qinghai suggests that the perspective of being Chinese citizens, yet a people in exile, shapes Salar social and economic activism.
Long before the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) established the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, it had committed itself to the principle of a multinational Chinese state, in order to manage the some 6 percent of the population not regarded as Han Chinese, but who had been subjects of the Qing Empire and became (in principle) citizens of the successor Republic after the collapse of the Empire in 1911 (Mackerras 1994, 1995; Chih-yu Shih 2002). This was no small matter in Northwest China, and in particular in the region on either side of the contemporary border between Qinghai and Gansu Prov inces, where there had been almost interminable violence after 1780 over the search for appropriate religious and political identities amongst local Muslims (Lipman 1997). An immediate problem for those responsible for nationality policy in 1949 was the codification of the non-Han Chinese. This became a state project in the first half of the 1950s and resulted (often though not always through compromises between the state's desire for both bureaucratic neatness and manageability, on the one hand, and local demands for self-identification, on the other) in the recognition of fifty-five "minority nationalities."
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The relationship between anthropological definitions of ethnicity and the PRC's nationality status is often contested, not least because PRC conceptions of nationality are employed in specific political and ideological contexts. Differences among nationalities are explained in terms of both stages in society's unidirectional development towards (Han) civilization, and appeals to hereditary and racial purity (Dikotter 1992). Thus the definition of a specific minority nationality usually identifies language and homeland within the PRC as the key determinants. One of the smaller nationalities identified in this way were the Salar. The Salar are described by the PRC as a Turkic and Islamic (Sunni) people, with the majority living in the Xunhua Salar Autono mous County of Qinghai Province, and a small minority in the neighboring counties of Hualong and Tongren (in Qinghai) and Jishishan and Xiahe (in Gansu). Xunhua County is near the PRC's physi cal center; where the upper reaches of the Yellow River cross from Qinghai Province into Gansu Province. Xunhua in general, and its largest town, Gaizi in particular—with its central Salar Alitiuli Mosque—is the population epicenter and spiritual home for the 100,000 Salar. While the Salar were one of the smallest nationalities in numbers identified in the 1950s, they were geographically concentrated, had a high degree of self-identity, and were well known outside Xunhua, if not always for positive reasons. In addition to being known as merchants and traders throughout the Northwest, in Ningxia, Gansu, and Xinjiang, as well as across Qinghai, they also had a reputation for ferocity and violence (Lipman 1991: 4). The 1950s process of codification saw the Salar become a staterecognized nationality defined in terms of their distinctive Salar language, their homeland in Xunhua County, and their origins as exiles from the Samarkand area in today's Uzbekistan (Salazu jianshi 1982: 1
The PRC interpretation of this process is outlined in Fei Xiaotong (1981). A more critical view is provided by Harrell (1995b). Qinghai is an inherently multicultural environment. Xunhua, for example, despite its Salar presence, is also heavily Tibetan. This makes the rendering of personal and place names and all proper nouns a little less than straightforward. In this chapter names are presented as far as possible in their most commonly used format; where appropriate, reference is made to Modern Standard Chinese. The term "autonomous" in PRC usage indicates the presence of a significant non-Han nationality, often involved in government and party-state activity. 2
Exile as Nationality: The Salar of Northwest China
3). Exile is not only central to the definition of the Salar; a sense of banishment and of being outsiders is also part of common consciousness in Xunhua County and for the Salar as a whole. In addition, various underlying accounts of migration explain Salar identity, including their origin and their interaction with both the Islamic world and Chinese society. The Salar understanding of exile differs from the ways in which the term has been used elsewhere, especially in the 20 and 2 1 centuries. In the first place, it is a premodern notion of banishment that is not associated with, or the consequence of, a nationalist discourse. The Chinese word fangzhu was usually employed in imperial times for the act of being sent into exile away from the political (and cultural) center to the frontiers of civilized culture. Given that the Empire ruled "all under heaven" with control and influence stronger at the center and weaker at the periphery, there was little of the twentieth century notion of exile beyond the boundaries of the state to be found in this conceptualization. Moreover, the Salar experience now recounted as "exile" was not a state-driven legal banishment, but a migration driven by hostile conditions with a presumed point of departure. Moreover, the center of the universe for those now said to have migrated was Inner Asia, not the Imperial Court, which they moved towards, not away from. These factors help explain why the self-understanding of the Salar as exiles has not bequeathed an imperative to return, as is often the case for exiled communities throughout the world. Another, possibly more fundamental reason is that Salar identity only starts with exile. No preexile homeland provides the subject of nostalgic romanticization. Indeed, there is considerable uncertainty as to the precise point or time of origin for the Salar, or those now called by that name. The lack of an imperative to return is also presumably related to the ways in which Salar identity has been involved in the tortuous (and often violent) search for a Sino-Muslim identity, at once politically Chinese and socially Muslim. Originally, this identity was grounded in the area around Hezhou (now Linxia) in the south of Gansu, which was a major center of Islamic culture by the end of the 17 century. At times Salar interaction with the Qing Empire and its successor states resulted in violence, as in the Rebellion of 1781, the uprisings of the late 1800s, and the outbreaks of resistance during the 1950s. In the 20 century, however, interactions were also positive, th
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including the establishment of Qinghai Province in 1928, first under Ma Qi and later his son, Ma Bufang, as a Muslim state within the Chinese political system, a process in which Salars from Xunhua played a leading role as part of Ma Bufang's military organization (Yang Xia oping 1986; Chen Binyuan 1986). One result of these cultural politics is that in contrast to the ex perience of other exiles, the Salar do not present themselves as vic tims. A recent survey of Salar businessmen and community leaders suggests that discourses of exile and migration are again in use as instruments of Salar mobilization and wealth generation towards the positive creation of a Sino-Muslim identity. Qinghai Province was slow to adapt to the socioeconomic opportunities presented during the 1980s and 1990s by the reform of the earlier system of state socialism. Not so the Salar, or at least a group of successful Salar community leaders and business-people, who have been in the forefront of change throughout the province for the last two decades. Xunhua and the Salar Xunhua County is located at the southern edge of the Haidong District of Qinghai Province. Haidong literally means "East of the Lake" and the lake in question is the large inland saltwater Qinghai Lake (some times known outside China as Kokonor). The Haidong District is the most heavily populated part of Qinghai Province (67.2 percent of the population live on 2.84 percent of the provincial land area) and contains almost all its arable land. Xining, the provincial capital and a Chinese outpost of Empire from the 7 century, is at the center of this district. While Xining is close to Xunhua in terms of the scale of Qinghai, it remains the best part of a day's travel away by road. Xin ing and Haidong were for a long time part of Gansu Province, and the region on either side of the Qinghai-Gansu border is perhaps best un derstood as China's cultural frontier in the Northwest. West to East this is where Mongols and Tibetans interact; South to North is where Chinese culture meets Central Asia. Xunhua is a county of 2,100 square kilometers that runs for 90 kilometers along the course of the Yellow River as it moves into Gansu Province, at between 1,780 meters above sea level (the low 3
For a general introduction to Qinghai Province see D.S.G. Goodman (2004b).
Exile as Nationality: The Salar of Northwest China
point is where the Yellow River enters Gansu Province) and 4,498 meters above sea level (the Lazi Mountains.) It is a county of mountains and valleys, poorly connected to the rest of China and poorly integrated in itself. Until 1972 there was no paved road into or out of the county. The main communication route was along the Yellow River into the Linxia District of Gansu. There is a very fertile strip along both sides of the Yellow River, with a heavy clay soil, where annual yields of 800 jin of grain per mu are normal. Yet a large part of the county is barren mountains, referred to by locals as "the land where nothing lives," not even suitable, as elsewhere in Qinghai Province, for grazing. 4
Map of Xunhua and environs
See the glossary at the end of this chapter for explanations of weights and measures.
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In 2001 Xunhua County had about 120,000 people, and just under 30,000 households, living in 147 towns and villages. Jishizhen is the county town, the seat of local government and the residence of the few Han Chinese who live in the county. Xunhua's population is predomi nantly Salar (62 percent), but a substantial minority (24 percent) is Tibetan, largely agriculturalists living in the Tibetan villages at the east of the county. The last (10 ) Panchen Lama was a native of Xun hua. Relationships between the Salar and Tibetans are complex. For the most part they have long lived and even worked together. Most adult Salar speak a fair amount of Amdo Tibetan. Salar refer generally to Tibetans in extremely friendly tones as ajiou, meaning "maternal uncle," a term denoting as close a relative as can be without being parent, child or sibling (Ma Wei, Ma Jianzhong and Stuart 2001: 33), and during the 1950s the two communities cooperated on several occasions in acts of resistance to the PRC. At the same time, under Ma Bufang and the drive to emphasize Sino-Muslim identity, especially in Xunhua and neighboring (and also Islamic) Hualong, a more aggressive policy of turning Tibetans into Sino-Muslims was pursued (Cui Yonghong 1994: 71ff). The rest of the resident population in Xunhua County includes Muslim Hui (8 percent) and Han Chinese (6 percent). 5
At the start of the 2 1 century county leaders are wont to describe Xunhua in terms of its poverty. While this is not inaccurate compared to Eastern China provinces, Xunhua has been one of the more success ful economic stories among Qinghai counties since the early 1990s. By 2001 GDP had reached 30 million yuan renminbi (US$3.75 million). The mainstays of the local economy are energy production, the export of labor outside the county, wool, and the production of cloth and clothing with Islamic religious significance. There is a strong and growing electricity-generating industry centered on two new hydroelectric stations on the Yellow River. It is common to meet Salar all over China's Northwest. As in the past, some are traveling merchants and salesmen. Xunhua also supports numerous county-based construction companies with workers sourced from the county, and transport companies operating throughout the Northwest. Such out-migration has led to a demand for more Salar restaurants and eateries to support migrant Salars; this has also contributed to the export of labor.
Information on Xunhua County derives from my interview with Ma Fengsheng, County Head, 5 August 2002, Jishizhen, Xunhua.
Exile as Nationality: The Salar of Northwest China
The increased economic development of Xunhua is perhaps most apparent in the rapidity with which older, well-established industries have found new markets, and become mechanized and automated. In particular, the expansion of the woolen goods industry has been spectacular. Xunhua previously had one small and inefficient mill, spinning sheep wool. Since the late 1980s Xunhua has become a major center in China for washing and spinning sheep and yak wool. It now has five large-scale enterprises all recapitalized with new technology and led by native Salars. This restructured and revitalized industry has contributed to Xunhua's wealth, with the mills producing a range of products, including luxury products for export to Europe and North America. The woolen goods industry aside, mechanization and auto mation have also transformed older industries making religious cloth, hats and embroidery, some of which are specific to the Salar, and some of which have wider Muslim applicability. Minority nationality participation in the administration of local government and the local party-state in Qinghai Province is variable, even though most of the province is organized into areas of minority nationality residence. The degree of minority nationality representation is a function not only of each group's relationship with the partystate but also of that group's self-articulation. In the case of Xunhua County, 19 people held leadership positions in 2002 for the CCP, local government, local people's congress, and local Chinese People's Rep resentative Conference. Of those, nine were Salar, two were Tibetan, two Hui, and six Han Chinese. As these proportions suggest when compared to relativities in the population as a whole, the Salar people may at times have had an uneasy relationship with the Chinese state. The key to understanding that interaction lies in Xunhua's cultural geography, or more accurately that of the wider environment outside the county. Although for the Chinese Empire, and even for those Chinese who lived in the GansuQinghai border region, the region was always regarded as the extreme periphery, for other local peoples this was not the case. For local Muslims the Hezhou area was a major center of Islamic learning from the late 17 century. Hezhou (now Linxia) just across the border in Gansu from Xunhua was known as "Little Mecca" and was a center of Islamic civilization at times when the Chinese state was regarding Lanzhou (the capital of Gansu Province) and Xining as "wild-west" frontier towns. Looking at a current map for Xunhua's location might foth
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cus attention on new state boundaries but its interaction with Xining and the rest of Qinghai Province is still less important than the Salars' main cultural communications with the Islamic world of Linxia Dis trict (Lipman 1996: 97). Hezhou's Islamic influence was such that it rapidly began to inter act with movements beyond its immediate hinterland. At a time when the Islamic world was awash with intellectual curiosity and new ideas about spirituality and social activism, new political and religious teachings from Yemen and Arabia began to gain ground around Hezhou. The initial result was not so much direct conflict with the Chinese state but rather religious and political violence in the local Islamic communities. The destabilizing of local society rather than any particular religious ideas brought the Salars into conflict with the Chinese state. When the Qing Empire acted to restore order it acted heavy handedly, thus ensuring even higher levels of violence. As Lipman details (1997), this was a common pattern in the 18 and 19 centuries in Xunhua, which helps explain the Salar's reputation for ferocity and violence. Islam most probably came to Xunhua during the Mongol con quests of the 13 century. Many Muslims saw service with the Yuan Dynasty and large numbers were settled in nearby Gansu. Until the mid-1600s, Islamic social and political life in Xunhua centered on the community and mosque. This started to change, as elsewhere in the Muslim world, with the impact of Sufism, a movement of mysticism and activism that created supra-communal and often highly competitive orders. One of the first Sufi proponents, Muhammed Yusuf, visited Xunhua in the late 1640s and converted the Salar (Mi Yizhi: 1982). During the 18 century a number of Hezhou District Muslim preachers and scholars started to travel to the Middle East, on pilgrimage and to study. One of the more charismatic of these was Ma Laichi who on his return gained considerable publicity and following for his particular ideas (known as Khafiya) by instigating and winning a court case about the correct order of prayer and eating during Ramadan: he argued that at that time it was more appropriate to eat before evening prayers as against the then current practice of eating after (Trippner 1964: 264). In 1750 Ma Laichi converted the Salar to Khafiya teachings and practices. Another similar, but slightly later traveler was Ma Mingxin, who in 1761 introduced more radical and intolerant ideas of Sufi revivalism, known as Jahriya, the "New Teaching" as opposed to th
Exile as Nationality: The Salar of Northwest China
Ma Laichi's "Old Teaching." His impact in Xunhua was to lead to extremes of communal violence. At stake were access to the wealth and assets of religious institutions, and control of converts and their communities. Increases in the number of law cases and the incidence of street fighting between the two schools brought the Qing legal process to Xunhua in 1781. The decision to outlaw the New Teaching and disband its communities as a threat to social security merely escalated the level of violence. A group of Salars, under Su Fortythree (Su Sishisan) raised the banner of revolt and captured Hezhou. When the Governor of Gansu sent officials to Hezhou to deal with the revolt, Su Fortythree had them killed and marched on Lanzhou in return. As was later to be the case on a number of occasions the Salar rebels found taking Lanzhou to be beyond them, and after a siege were defeated by the locally raised forces (including other Muslims) of the Chinese state (Mi Yizhi 1983; Salazu jianshi 1982: 17). Just over a hundred years later, in 1894-95, a similar sequence of events was played out again when an increase in law suites between adherents of the "New Old Teaching" and the "New New Teaching" (which by then had be come the polarities of conflict for Sufi adherents), as well as an in crease in communal violence, led the Qing legal process to find in fa vor of the latter (Lipman 1997: 142). After the fall of the Qing the Salar came to play a more central role, not only in Muslim China's development, but also in the devel opment of the Chinese state. At the turn of the 19 and 20 centuries the continued frustrations of Islamic resistance to the Chinese state gave way, at least in the minds of some activists, to the construction of more Sino-Muslim identities and courses of action. In part these were religious and intellectual in construct, but they also produced the notion of a semi-autonomous political system for Sino-Muslims that reached fulfillment through the establishment of Qinghai Province, with its capital at Xining in 1928. Its major proponent was the Muslim Hui Ma Qi, the one time Qing Commander of Xining and subsequently the local warlord, who became the province's first Governor. He was succeeded in 1931 by his son, Ma Bufang, whose support base lay in Xunhua and Hualong Counties, where he had been the district's leading official. Many Salar served with Ma Bufang, especially in the military, and he remains an important figure in the Salar pantheon. th
Ma Bufang's association with the Republican Government that had granted the establishment of Qinghai Province placed him on the
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side of the Nationalist Party in the Civil War, and the Salar on the outer when the CCP came to power in the PRC and the People's Lib eration Army (PLA) moved into Qinghai in late 1949. After the province had been secured the CCP wanted to demonstrate its human face in contrast to, in its interpretation, the more inhumane political behavior of Ma Bufang. Instead of imprisoning Ma Bufang's captured sol diers and the civilians who had served with the Ma Bufang regime, all were released back into the community. This proved to be a serious mistake, as these people then raised the flag of violent resistance. In Xunhua, in particular, there were a series of serious attacks on the new regime. Han Yimu led the most successful of these in 1951-52. His forces, consisting of those who had served with Ma Bufang, surrounded the local garrison of 90 PLA soldiers and wiped them out. A much larger PLA force was sent to retake Xunhua, and Han Yimu left the county town to become a guerrilla (Zhang Pu et al. 1996: 150). Han Yimu's act of resistance continued to the end of the decade. In 1958 he emerged from working underground to lead a revolt of Salar, many of whom remained Ma Bufang loyalists, in an attack on the Chinese state alongside and in concert with the wider Tibetan uprising of 1958-59, which eventually led to the Dalai Lama's exile (Chen Yunfeng 1991: 92). When rallying the troops and local Salars in Xunhua, he is reputed to have said, "Tomorrow Xunhua, after two days Lanzhou, and in three days we will take Beijing." Eventually captured and taken for trial and execution in Beijing, he is said to have re flected, perhaps apocryphally, on his misunderstanding of China's size and scale: "China has more people than Qinghai has yaks" (Chen Yunfeng 1991: 92). The revolts of the 1950s in Xunhua led the PRC to instigate a crackdown on the Salars in every respect in and after 1958. Those thought to be the leaders of the Salar community were imprisoned or executed. About ten percent of the male population was rounded up and sent to "Reform through labor camps" elsewhere in Qinghai. The Salar language was discouraged and religious expression was largely suppressed. An early 13 century handwritten Koran (one of only three worldwide), said to have come to Xunhua from Samarkand with the original settlers and previously kept in the Alitiuli Mosque, was th
Exile as Nationality: The Salar of Northwest China
taken to Beijing for "safe keeping." Yet the measures employed by the state to sinicize the Salar were unsuccessful, and merely drove Salar religious and social practices underground. Repression continued for the best part of twenty-four years. In the early 1980s as the reform agenda started to emerge from the CCP in Beijing, a new approach was adopted towards all minority nationalities, including those such as the Salar who had demonstrated their opposition in the more recent past. The more tolerant approach represented a pragmatic response to the needs of economic rationalism. Nonetheless it was cautiously welcomed in Xunhua, especially when all but a few (those identified as "the leaders") of those arrested for involvement in the rebellions of the 1950s were pardoned. This in cluded those who were still in "Reform through labor camps" as well as those who had already been released from other state security establishments or indeed who had subsequently died or been executed. Full religious expression was permitted once again, the Alitiuli Mosque Koran was returned from Beijing (in 1982), and local mosques became operational again. Salar community institutions came out from underground and indeed in some cases became the foundation for new economic enterprises, such as those making religious products. At the same time, Salar acceptance of a more positive relationship with the PRC remains cautious, a coexistence rather than a closer integration. A small act of resistance was the Salar refusal to adopt the new state-provided script for the Salar language. Salars use three languages: the routine Salar spoken idiom, which was and remains writ ten in Chinese characters; the Mongolian and Turkic influenced Linxia Chinese; and Arabic, used for religious purposes. In the early 1980s at the direction of the Central Nationalities Commission of the PRC Government, Professor Han Jianye of Qinghai Nationalities Col lege designed a new Salar alphabet that was propagated in Xunhua (Han Jianye 1988). It was not accepted and has been quietly shelved. Another example is schooling. State school enrolments in Xunhua are some of the lowest in the PRC. A key reason for this is that the Salar, like other Muslims in the Northwest, prefer the sexes to be segregated at school and that their children should receive more religious education, as provided for by the madrasas attached to mosques.
Details of the Alitiuli Koran are provided in a conversation between Han Jianye and Ma Wei, reported in Ma Wei, Ma Jianzhong, and Stuart (2001: 11).
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The myth of exile The codification of nationalities in the early 1950s defined the Salar as exiles, and all the available evidence would suggest that contemporary Salars believe passionately in their status as a people in permanent exile. Contemporary official and less formal published accounts all stress the origins of the Salar in the act of banishment from Central Asia. Visitors to Xunhua all receive a similar introduction, and the fact of exile is usually the first thing mentioned by Salar businesspeople and officials when their nationality or ethnicity is being discussed with other Chinese or external visitors. An interesting additional aspect of their belief system, which reinforces the notion of permanent exile, is the equally strong attachment to being citizens of the Chinese state, demonstrated by the insistence on the continued use of Chinese characters in writing. One reason for this passionate belief and its clear articulation may well be because the fact of exile was central to the definition of the Salar in the early 1950s. This provides a certainty and a consciousness that overrides remaining doubts and contestations about origins. The official view of Salar origins is met by considerable uncertainty, not least about when the people now known as the Salar came to Xunhua, where they came from and who the original "they" may have been. The historical record, scholarly observation of local society and customs, and even local folk stories, reinforce the notion of Salar exile not so much as false but more as a constructed public belief, though one that predates the establishment of the PRC, even if it was formulated more clearly in the 1950s and then pursued more passionately since the early 1980s in the most recent era of Salar revival. The first recorded use of the name Salar appears to have been in Qing records. When describing the impact of the visit of the early Sufi, Muhammed Yusuf, to Hezhou and its surrounds during the late 1640s, local magistrates described his influence in converting the Salar (Mi Yizhi 1982; Lipman 1997: 59). Assuming that the Salar (whether by that name or otherwise) were regarded as a well established local feature at that time, these events might explain why prior to 1949 their presence in Xunhua was dated even earlier by one or two 7
Certainly this was my experience when conducting research throughout Qinghai during 2001-2003 and in Xunhua specifically in 2002.
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centuries. More recent accounts that followed the 1950s definition of the Salar as a state-recognized nationality have started to accept an earlier and more precise date for arrival in or about 1370 (Salazu jianshi 1982: 9). That said, earlier sources do not explain why the Salar were or are called by that specific name. The current dominant discourse of exile is enshrined in the standard PRC histories of the Salar nationality. More complex versions of the same exile story from the Samarkand region, though incorporating different elements that had sometimes been related separately, have been elaborated in still more popular accounts of Salar folk culture. In the late 1980s Han Fude and Han Derong (1988) recorded (without attribution) one such folk tale about the origins of the Salar, Camel Spring, that drew heavily on other local stories and folk practices related by other sources and observers. This story of Salar origin starts with two brothers in Samarkand, Kharimang and Ahmang (Gallima and Akhma). They felt that life in their home village had become intolerable because of discrimination against them by the village headman, so they decided to leave for somewhere more amenable. They set off from the village accompanied by various relatives, clanspeople and possibly others from the village. They took with them a white camel for porterage; a bowl of soil and a kettle of water from their home village; and a copy of the Koran. The journey was long and arduous and involved crossing many mountain ranges and rivers. They moved eastward through present day Xinjiang into present day Gansu and then into present day Ningxia. Once there, they turned back westward. Sometime after the two brothers had left their native place other of their clanspeople, villagers and relatives (about forty-five people in all) also decided to follow. They, too, had an arduous journey but, instead of following the brothers' tracks exactly, ended up going south of Qinghai Lake. Two members of this company decamped there but the others continued and eventually met up with Kharimang and Ahwang in present day Xunhua County at Mengda, from where they moved on to Alitiuli. 8
On arriving in Alitiuli they were exhausted, and the camel was tired, hungry and thirsty. Rest was called for. At midnight Kharimang woke up to find the camel had disappeared. He woke everyone else up
For example, see, Gong Jinghan (1981), Salazu jianshi (1982), Chen Yuanfang and Fan Xiangshen (1988), and, Ma Chengjun (1999).
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and they went off looking for the camel. By dawn they had not been successful but by now were very thirsty. Looking for water they found the camel had turned into stone, next to a spring; water was coming out of its mouth. This was a shock to the travelers who had become attached to the camel during their wanderings. Kharimang took up the Koran they had brought and asked for Allah's blessings for the camel and themselves. They drank the spring water and found it more than acceptable. They compared the water and soil in Alitiuli with the water and soil they had brought with and decided that they were the same and that Allah had helped them find a good place to settle. According to this folk tale, the date was the 13 day of the 5 moon in the 3 year of the Hongwu Reign of the Ming Dynasty (7 June 1370). The various elements of this version of the Salar myth of origin are not hard to place. At its core is the Camel Play (Doye oyna)that was performed regularly as part of wedding celebrations in Mengda (Munda) village of Xunhua until the 1920s, but subsequently died out as a village-based performance (Ma Jianzhong and Stuart 1996). The Camel Play is essentially a reenactment of how the Salar came to Xunhua, and was banned, along with other representations of Salar culture, from 1958 to 1982. A version based on the memory of a sev enty-four old Mengda native was revived in 1994 as part of the cele brations of the 40 Anniversary of the Establishment of the Xunhua Salar Autonomous County. The play has five performers, representing the two brothers Kharimang and Ahmang, a Mongol (to portray the local people who welcome the wanderers), and two who play the camel by covering themselves with an inverted fur-robe: "One holds a sleeve high in the air to represent the camel's head, while his partner lowers the other sleeve behind to suggest the tail. Their heads protrude underneath the fur robe, resembling the camel's humps" (Ma Jianzhong and Stuart 1996). th
The action of the Camel Play is fairly limited but essentially has the brothers' recounting to the Mongol the difficult journey they had taken, and all the places at which they had stopped from Samarkand to Mengda. Interestingly this version of the Camel Play does not have the brothers traveling to Ningxia before heading back east to Xunhua. It recounts how they left, taking very little with them, but mentions the Koran, and the soil and water, all borne by the "sublime" white camel. It relates how Allah brings them to Xunhua to settle, and has the camel turning to stone, but then moves into a final act of audience par-
Exile as Nationality: The Salar of Northwest China
ticipation as befits performance at a wedding party. The Mongol sug gests to Kharimang that he should lead the camel around to entertain the guests. Kharimang points out that "My camel has turned to stone. He can't stand and dance unless he has food from Samarkand," and adds "Our camel shits walnuts after eating dates, dumplings and fried bread." This is the key for the wedding host and bridegroom to bring food for the camel (and presumably the acting troupe). The perform ance ends with the camel moving forward and showering the audience with walnuts. Several alternative accounts, drawn from documentary historical research, also appear to have found their way at least in part into the greater elaboration of the account of Salar origins. One quite clearly is the expansion of Islam into the area from today's Xinjiang through Gansu to Ningxia alongside the Mongol expansion that led to the es tablishment of the Yuan Dynasty. The Mongols brought with them both soldiers and administrators who were Muslims (Lipman 1997). Mi Yizhi, a senior researcher at Qinghai Nationalities Institute during the 1980s, traced a possible source of the Salar back to a people origi nating as the Qaluer or Saluer, an Oghaz tribe living in the Yili Region (in the Northwest of today's Xinjiang Province). Between the 9 and 12 centuries the Oghaz tribes, including the Saluer, moved into northern Iran and eastern Anatolia. Under the Selzuk Empire (10551258) the Salar were forced from the areas they had settled. Most moved westward but those who stayed in what is now Turkmenistan became known as Turkomans. Other Saluer continued eastward between 1370 and 1424, moving through Samarkand, the Turpan Basin (in today's Xinjiang), and the area of the Gansu Corridor, ending up in Xunhua (Mi Yizhi 1981: 63). th
Mi Yizhi also highlighted another possible documentary source providing a further potential origin for the Salar. In considering the various explanations and approaches that might be employed, he mentions a 1917 source examining the origins of the Hui, published in Kashgar by a Mullah Suleiman. This refers to two brothers, Kharamang and Akhmang, who lived near Salark, in today's Turkmenistan. According to this source, which is unidentifiable beyond Mi Yizhi's textual reference, the two brothers moved east to the area that is now Qinghai with 170 members of their tribe (Mi Yizhi 1986: 295). The oral tradition in Xunhua is also confusing, but nonetheless seems to have contributed to the elaboration of the myth of origin. Various
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Salars in Xining and Xunhua at the start of the 2 1 century provided different numbers of the original migratory Salar who came East, from 18 people to 180 households. Other versions of the exile story around Kharimang and Ahmang have the camel turning to stone and sinking to the bottom of a small lake fed by a spring in Alitiuli. Indeed, in the not so distant past, the lake in question was turned into a walled park, not least because it was said that for the faithful it was possible to see the stone camel at the bottom of the lake. For the less faithful, a replica stone camel has been erected in the park. Moreover, a much earlier observation of the oral traditions surrounding the Salar has them being thrown out of their home villages because of their violence, possibly an understandable adverse reaction from a worried headman dealing with a troublesome family (Trippner 1964: 247). These inconsistencies and confusions throw doubt upon the specific current accounts of Salar exile but not necessarily exile or migration in general, for at least some of the ancestors of those now described as Salar. The Salar language certainly has a confirmed Turkic base though it also has considerable Chinese and Amdo Tibetan modifications and additions (Dwyer 1996). The difficulties in understanding the genesis of the Salar are irreconcilable because of the rigid requirements presented by the PRC for confirmation of nationality status. In this case all those who are Salar have to share the heritage and bloodlines of having been exiled several centuries earlier. This, then, excludes other explanations, such as that while some of those whose descendants became known as the Salar might have been migrants from Turkic areas (including but not exclusively from Samarkand), others could have been local peoples with whom they intermarried or otherwise interacted. It also precludes the possibility that the different villages now regarded as part of the Salar nationality homeland might have had different origins and experiences. In the past it was not abnormal for external observers to stress the mixed pedigree of the Salar, reflecting the mixed cultural environment in the QinghaiGansu area: "Many (have) tried to describe the Salar anthropologically...Such an undertaking has very little value...the Salars, at least in the past two hundred years, are the result from a mixing pot of Turks, Mongols, Tibetans, Chinese and Chinese speaking Muslims" (Trippner 1964: 261). If more scientific certainty about the genetic background of the Salar is required, then there is an interesting re search project ahead for someone to examine their DNA.
Exile as Nationality: The Salar of Northwest China
Social activism While there may be no solid evidence of exile or banishment, to con centrate on this omission is to miss the point. Interesting as questions of historical accuracy may be, they are less than relevant for understanding the role of Salars in Northwest China today. The revival of Salar identity that started in the early 1980s in many ways exemplifies the emergence of explicitly local discourses of change that encourage and facilitate economic development, particularly beyond the boundaries of the state sector, that has been a fairly common feature of the PRC's political economy since the early 1990s (Oakes 2000: 667; D.S.G. Goodman 2002). At the same time the Salar revival is distinctive because it was not (as was the case elsewhere in the PRC) state initiated, though it has clearly gained a substantial measure of later state support (Ma Chengjun 1999). Moreover, the Salar case is particularly unusual in Qinghai where almost uniquely among the PRC's provincial-level jurisdictions the encouragement of provincial and local discourses has generally been absent from the agenda of the party-state (D.S.G. Goodman 2004b). Religion, language, and Xunhua have been key pillars in the elaboration of Salar identity, reinforcing feelings of community and solidarity and encourage individuals to economic activism. So too is exile, which helps the Salar believe they have a competitive advantage that comes from not being fundamentally native to the area in which they live and operate, despite having been born and grown up there. They see themselves as being more mobile than those around them and more dynamic elements in the development of society. The self-attributed case for Salar exceptionalism, particularly the link between the nationality's origins in exile, on the one hand, and social and economic activism, on the other, were constant themes in my interviews with both Salar community leaders and business people interviewed during 2001-2003. The following examples convey the spirit of Salar activism in the development not only of Xunhua, but also of Qinghai and China's Northwest. These vignettes demonstrate the range of motivations, and of activism and leadership, to be found among community leaders and business people. In particular, they highlight the ways in which individuals proceeded to activism from an understanding of a special Salar "outsider" status; emphasized Salar physical mobility and outwardness in outlook; and developed local
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products, including religious artifacts, for the wider market. The final two interviewees considered here are also interesting for the light they throw on the internal dynamics of Salar identity formation: one with a Salar folklorist, the other with a woman entrepreneur. Their approach to the shaping of Salar identity strongly suggests its malleability rather than its deeply entrenched social roots. "Ever since I was young I've been an entrepreneur," admitted Manager Ma. His group enterprise now owns a transport company with twelve trucks that shuttle between Qinghai and the Tibet Autonomous Region; and three hotels (in Xunhua, Xining and Ping'an, the Dalai Lama's birthplace just east of Xining). At a young age he had been a trader in Qinghai, the Tibet Autonomous Region, Gansu, and Ningxia, selling clothes and food products. With the money he generated from these activities in the 1980s and early 1990s he invested in hotels and trucks. When asked about the secret of his success he referred to the large spirit and high energy levels of the Salar: "As our history of exile clearly demonstrates," he said, "Salars can suffer a lot and still prosper." This was a message echoed explicitly and implicitly by other interviewees. One was another Ma, this time a village CCP branch secretary, and a long time leader of his village. A peasant in Xunhua until the 1980s, he was one of the first to harness the opportunities presented as part of the Salar revival to mobilize his fellow villagers to economic goals. His village has limited arable land (less than 0.5 mu per capita) so he encouraged others to engage in economic activities outside Xunhua: "Our ancestors were forced to leave Samarkand, so we can certainly travel less permanently for work." In the early 1980s he led a group of villagers from his home and adjacent villages to undertake odd jobs at a copper mine elsewhere in Qinghai, and then to mine gold in Sichuan. Fifty of the village's 215 households have been running restaurants outside Xunhua for many years. Eighty of the village's households have formed odd job teams that travel outside the county for work in summer and return for winter. Nine of the village's house9
Interviewed in Jishizhen, 6 August 2002. Ma and Han are the most common Salar surnames. Ma is usually equated with Muhammed, of which it is the first syllable. The names of interviewees in this chapter have been changed to preserve anonymity, except where identification is obvious, germane, and explicitly approved by the interviewee. Interviewed Wajiangzhuang Village, Qingshui Township, 6 August 2002. 10
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holds have been able to afford to buy trucks or buses that shift people and goods around the Northwest. Ma himself has become fairly wealthy, now has seven sons, and in 2001 opened a brick plant. A similar story was told by another Ma, also a village leader. Since the early 1980s he has led his village's 310 households to such good affect that only three households now live in poverty. Yields are good on the available arable land (1000 fin of wheat per mu; the vil lage also grows prickly ash and walnuts) but there is little workable land. Under Ma's influence and appeals to moving to the work (as opposed to expecting the work to come to it) the village now has twelve private trucks or buses, with about 100 villagers going to work outside Xunhua on a regular basis. Some 20 households from this vil lage work in Xining, 30 in Golmud and over 30 households are re sponsible for eateries in the coastal cities of the PRC. As Ma points out "historically, we're used to moving about [and] now  Salar restaurants in coastal cities can bring in about 50-60,000 yuan each per year." 11
Manager Han has developed one of Qinghai's largest companies, based on the production of wool from sheep and yak, and attributes the success of the company to the fact of Salars being outsiders and therefore willing to go that step further in making an effort, as well as to new technology. In the 1980s Manager Han had been the manager of a small state run enterprise in Xunhua engaged in wool production. Through the 1990s he restructured and expanded the company, and turned it into a local collective. Based initially on sheep's wool—in his view "Qinghai Xunhua sheep, and their wool, are the best"—he then thought to branch out into yak's wool production. He traveled widely throughout North and Northwest China to find out about new equipment, which he eventually ordered from Italy. The company was so successful that by 2000 they had moved their headquarters opera tion to Xining, exporting to Italy and Europe, and North America. As with many new Salar industrialists, Manager Han's localist discourse leads him to provide jobs and economic opportunities for his local community and ensures that he is a major donor to communal causes. 12
Ma Yitzhak (Yisihake) is an entrepreneur of even larger scale and the effective owner of Qinghai's largest private enterprise, the 11 12 13
Interviewed Dasigu Village, Qingshui Township, 6 August 2002. Interviewed in Gaizi, 4 August 2002. Interviewed in Gaizi, 4 August 2002.
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Xuezhou Sanrong Group, whose Snow Lotus brand is familiar to many cashmere sweater-wearers outside China. This was a villagebased company established in the late 1980s as a self-help endeavor led by Ma. Though he is heavily influenced by his Salar background and upbringing, like many others of those interviewed, this is not an inward-looking perspective on the world. His stated goal has been to "Take Australia's history and economic growth on the sheep's back as a model for Qinghai's development." He has, in his own words, applied "Salar dynamism to develop pastoral products and build a business in the international market." The company exports all over the world and even imports wool from Australia. Ma Yitzhak was quite outspoken in his criticism of officials in Xining, finding offensive their repeated claims that Xunhua was one of the most undeveloped places. According to Ma, since 1989 Xunhua's growth had been one of the strongest in China's West, thanks to the Salar. He nonetheless accepted that buildings and technology change faster than people's patterns of thinking. 14
Another Han is General Manager of a Salar cloth and hat maker enterprise that has taken traditional Salar products to a wider market, largely through automation. The company grew out of a small vil lage factory producing animal products (leather and skins) in the early 1990s. Through bank loans and with local government support Han and his father (who runs the headquarters office in Xining) have expanded the business, with sales now going all over China, even to non-Salar. There is apparently a sizeable and growing market for minority nationalities products. Necessarily because of its output the fac tory is a center of community focus. In particular, designs and product ideas are provided from the community. Han's own experience had previously been that of a trader around North and Southwest China, which he said had provided him with a broader perspective than for most people in Qinghai. Manager Ma runs a chili paste production factory in Gaizi, where chili paste production is a major industry, with three competing plants. 15
Unfortunately he somewhat marred this worldliness later over lunch by remarking that he had "greatly enjoyed the thick chocolate cake and the Alps last time he visited Australia," a clear reference to the other "Australia" lying next to Switzerland and that produced Mozart. Interviewed in Gaizi, 5 August 2002. 15
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Ma's is the biggest. He buys chilies from the nearby five villages and produces three product lines, which are marketed quite widely in Northwest China: Beef Complement, Prickly Ash paste, and Chili Paste. He sees his competition as coming from Sichuan, Anhui and Gansu. According to Manager Ma the secret of the factory's success has been the excellence of the Xunhua chilies, grown on the soil and with the special climate that exists there; and the activism of the local Salar people. At the same time, he recognizes that "chili production is part of poverty" and was driven by a need to do something to help his native village: "Like our earlier ancestors when they first arrived here, we do our best with the available resources." Han Zhanxiao was a well-known Salar folklorist before the sup pression of Salar customs and practices in the late 1950s. Together with his family he now produces Salar embroidery for ceremonial purposes, and other Salar musical and secular artifacts. In the 1950s he had been a music folklorist and had left Xunhua for Beijing and the Central Nationalities Institute. Amongst other activities he had been a specialist performer of, and commentator on, the Camel Play. After his release from imprisonment at the end of the Cultural Revolution he started work again with the Beijing Folklore Festival that took him around the PRC. By the time he eventually retired and returned to Xunhua in the 1990s, he had come to see the "need for creation and representation of our nationality. I had particularly come to realize this lack after a visit to Inner Mongolia. We need logos and symbols to represent Salar identity to the outside world as well as to ourselves." One result was the development of his family folklore enterprise. Han Zenaibai (also known as Han Yulan) is an outsider not only because she is Salar, but also because she is a woman, in a society that for all its progressiveness in some ways also remains fundamentalist about the role of women. She is now a well-known entrepreneur in Xunhua, and even to some extent beyond, but originally made her name as a basketball player in regional and national championship teams (1958-1964) at a time when Salar society heavily disapproved of women exhibiting themselves in public in any way. Nonetheless, she became something of a local celebrity even then, and was widely known as "Player Number Eight," a nickname that persists still. She 11
Interviewed, 6 August 2002.
11Interviewed in Gaizi, 1 August 2002. 18
Interviewed in Jishizhen, 5 July 2002.
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now owns and runs the Tangsaishan Agricultural and Livestock De velopment Company of Xunhua County, owning amongst other un dertakings a fairly sizeable hotel (Saina'er in Salar [Daughter of the Mountain] Hotel in Jishizhen) as well as several herds of sheep and cattle. Clearly a bit of a tomboy in her youth, Han Zenaibai is proba bly Xunhua's first feminist. She admitted to being a Salar traditional ist but explained that this meant in her interpretation that (amongst other things) the Salar could achieve anything they set out to do, and from the start she could not see why all of Salar customs had to privi lege men: "In the very beginning (of reform) men started to set up businesses. I knew there were women starting businesses in foreign countries, and I wanted to try. In 1996, I successfully applied on my own to get 400,000 yuan from the Development Bank in Xining." For her pains she became enshrined as the prototype of the Salar woman entrepreneur in a Central China Television series "The Yellow River on the Left, the River Branch On the Right." st
Salar identity in the 2 1 century Exiled by definition, revitalized by the opportunities presented by the changes of the reform era, especially those related to religious and nationality expression, the Salar have emerged as a significant economic force for change in Northwest China, and particularly in Qinghai Province since the 1980s. The extent to which Salar community leaders, the community as a whole, or individual Salars believe in the fact of their ancestors' erstwhile exile is an open question. It may have become an entrenched part of Salar socialization even before 1949. Certainly the evidence of the last two decades is that the orthodoxy of Salar identity has become more intense and focused, raising certain characteristics, of which exile is central, to even higher levels of importance. It may simply be that the Salar collectively and individually accept the need to articulate their experience and identity in terms that enable them to work peacefully within the Chinese state, and see the economic benefits of going further when circumstances permit. Thus, exile is a necessary myth for the Salar, not in the sense of a historical deception but in the sense of public belief. In many ways the Salar revival and stronger sense of communal solidarity over the last two decades seems counterintuitive. In the wake of the Cultural Revolution the removal of the strictures of that
Exile as Nationality: The Salar of Northwest China
era on religious observation and minority nationality customs led to a resurgence in their practice around China. At the same time, economic growth and development are generally assumed to be agents of greater homogenization, and not just by the PRC party-state. At least one linguist examining the use of the Salar language in the early 1990s ar gued that it was in danger of disappearing (Dwyer 1994). From the Salar perspective, then, the myth of exile has another important role to play. The Salar would not be the first people to have emphasized their collective suffering and survival through participation in "long marches." The experience of the Jews, and more recently the CCP itself, demonstrates how such migrations provide legitimacy to successor generations and may help maintain the faith. Glossary 1 jin = 0.5 kilos = 1.1 pounds; 1 mu = 0.06 hectares = 1/6 acre; 1 yuan renminbi = 0.12 US$ = 0.16 AUD$ (approximately)
Acknowledgements The research here could not have been achieved without the cooperation and assistance of many local people in Xunhua County, whose participation is gratefully ac knowledged. Research for the chapter was conducted in Qinghai during 2001-2003 with the support of the Australian Research Council. The assistance of Guo Jing, Qinghai Nationalities Commission, Ma Chengjun, Qinghai Nationalities Institute, and Ma Jianzhong, Qinghai University, in organizing research is also gratefully acknowledged. Neither they nor any of those interviewed in connection with this project is responsible for any of the views or comments expressed in this chapter.
Language, Exile and the Burden of Undecidable Citizenship: Tenzin Tsundue and the Tibetan Experience Obododimma Oha Abstract This chapter argues that the case of Tibetan exiles confirms that language is a crucial area for determining how the exile 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."
We are refugees here. People of a lost country. Citizen to no nation. Tenzin Tsundue, "My Tibetanness"
Language is experience itself, apart from being an expression of an experience of the world. In the Hallidayan systemic linguistic frame work, language (as meaning-making process) is organized in three macro-levels: the ideational (which comprises the experiential and the logical), the interpersonal (which involves the expression of social roles and attitudes), and the textual (which involves the internal function of organizing messages into coherent forms) (Butler 1985: 58). The experience that is encoded in, and expressed through, language is shared by language-using agents, whose relationships shape the
choices of meaning they make. Also, the way the meaning or experi ence is structured (the text-making component) depends on the context of the interaction and the purpose of the communication. Following this systemic linguistic view of how language shapes our experience or is shaped by our experience of the world, it is clear that language has an important place in the experience of exile. In the first place, exiled individuals may be linguistic outsiders in the exile space, and may experience exclusions in discourse, or may agonize over being forced by circumstance to give up the languages they have always used in constructing their national or ethnic identities. It has been observed by Nina Zivancevic (2004) that in accepting to speak "the lan guage of the new social and cultural environment" of exile, the exiled individual is subjecting the self to a process of change that would have significant consequences. Zivancevic (2004) asks about the exiled in dividual: 1
When he or she returns home, that is to say to the familiar setting of a more distant past, and once again turns to and uses his/her mother tongue, can one say that he or she is the same person who left his/her country to live in exile? Or is he or she the same person living in exile who has to adapt himself or herself to the living conditions of a new 'country' however superficially familiar?
Being in exile, therefore, is not just a removal from a cherished geographical space, but a removal from a context of culture within which language plays an important role as "social semiotic" (Halliday 1978) and means of inventing identity and creating solidarity. Given that individuals often have strong emotional attachment to their native languages or dialects, being exiled from one's native language may be psychologically devastating. The case of Tibetan exiles very clearly illustrates the fact that language represents a crucial area for determining how the exile experience ruptures, recreates, and problematizes the identity and values of the exiled individual. In this chapter, therefore, I discuss the linguistic
The term "exile" is multi-accentual. As Buchung Sonam (2005) explains, it is "a state of physical displacement and longing for the native land...place of birth, or of origin or sometimes just the idea of home. At a more subtle level an exile is some sort of a social outcaste, an outsider—one who intentionally remains outside the main stream social intercourse." Exile, therefore, is used in referring to both (dis)place(ment) and person in this chapter.
Language, Exile and the Burden of Undecidable Citizenship
and semiotic dimensions of Tibetan exile, as articulated by the Tibetan writer, Tenzin Tsundue. I also explore the historical context of Tsundue's exilic writing, with particular reference to his concern with lan guage 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 the "Third Space" (Bhabha 1995). The historical context The People's Republic of China (PRC) invaded Tibet in 1959, after an initial defeat of the Tibetan army by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the signing of a 17-point agreement in which Tibet was intimidated into agreeing that it was part of China. The agreement also stated that China should neither tamper with Tibetan traditional institutions nor disrespect the spiritual and secular authority of the Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama. However, China violated the agreement through its imposition of socialist reforms in eastern and north-eastern Tibet and the gradual erosion of the authority of Tibetan spiritual and traditional institutions. With the assumption that Tibet was part of China, which since 1 October 1949, had become communist, the Chinese were uncomfortable with having a Tibetan province that was not in line with the Communist Revolution. The Tibetans, who were also uncomfortable and angry with Chinese hegemony and desecration of their traditional institutions, staged a violent resistance in March 1959, in Lhasa. In the subsequent Chinese crackdown, some 1.2 million Ti betans were killed in central Tibet alone, and thousands sought refuge in neighboring countries, notably India. Tibet's spiritual and political leader, the Dalai Lama, also went into exile in India, where, along with other Tibetans, he set up a government-in-exile. Many Tibetans who could not go into exile (but were exiled at home under Communist Chinese control) committed suicide. Tibetan spirituality, culture, language, and indigenous ways suffered a serious setback. Gyalpo (2005) observes that with the Chinese invasion, All publishing in Tibetan language ceased and literary activities were reduced to mere translation of Chinese propaganda. [The relatively relaxed environment of the early eighties afforded some space for the
Obododimma Oha Tibetan literati to flex their intellectual muscles while remaining within the limited confines of Party policy.
Tibetan writers have written about the catastrophic Chinese invasion, the despoliation that followed, and the trauma of exile. Lhasang Tsering, a member of the CIA-trained Tibetan Resistance Force that operated from exile in Nepal and former president of the Tibetan Youth Congress, for instance, articulates the pain of the Tibetan experience in his poem, "Even the Stones Remember": Your Dying soldiers Groaning, Vanquished men Wailing, Ravished women Weeping, Your Orphaned children Crying -Even the Stones Remember! Your ancient Temples Crumbling, Your holy Scriptures Burning, Ten thousand Monks Dying, Defiled Idols Decaying -Even the Stones Remember! Your abundant Land Plundered, Vast, green Forest Denuded, Clean, clear Waters Polluted, Pure, Pristine Air Poisoned -Even the Stones Remember!
Memory is not just a source of pain; it is also a means of raising consciousness about the Tibetan holocaust and quest for liberation. Remembering home, especially because one has been forced to leave it, is an inevitable inclination for exiled people. In the case of the Jew ish exile in Babylon, the psalmist writes about how the Jews, having been asked by their captors to sing their Zion song, sat by the rivers of Babylon and wept when they remembered Zion (Psalm 137). As with the exiled Jews, Tibetan poets in exile write about their lost homeland and their longing for it. They also write about their exile identity problems, and language and cultural struggles. As Sonam (2005) explains: Confronted, early in life, with the terrible truth of being exiles, compounded by the need to survive in a testing world, Tibetan youths venture into many avenues to relieve their angst; writing seems to be the primary pressure valve. The literary works of young exile Tibetans are a raw and unpolished burst of energy that springs from their deeply wounded souls. These are sharp, youthful shrieks unchained by convention and colored by their imagination of a Tibet most of
Language, Exile and the Burden of Undecidable Citizenship
them have never seen. Their outcry is poetry—reflections on woes of exile, an acute sense of displacement and a direct challenge to a freak reality...They crave to bombard the state's bigoted mechanism to ashes with their burning words. The pen is not stronger than the gun yet. Thus, writing remains a challenge and a tool to hold onto their moral strength. Poetry, for them, is a more subtle defiance and the language reflects a veiled response to the agonizing life under everwatchful eyes of the state's apparatus.
Tenzin Tsundue, one of the Tibetan writers living in exile in India, has been particularly committed to the Tibetan exile experience and is part of the Tibetan struggle for liberation from Chinese rule. An award-winning poet, Tsundue has written both literary and critical pieces on the Tibetan experience. Some of these are available online both in Tibetan Review (http://tibetan.review.to/index_htm) and on the official website of Friends of Tibet (India) (http://www.friends oftibet.org). Born in a makeshift tent as his parents were escaping with other Tibetans to India in 1959, Tsundue was educated at Tibetan Children's Village, Pathlikuhl, and later in Dharmasala, as well as the University of Madras in India, and is the General Secretary of the Friends of Tibet, India. The website of Friends of Tibet states that he braved snowstorms and treacherous mountains, broke all rules and restrictions, crossed the Himalayas on foot and went into forbidden Tibet! The purpose? To see the situation under Chinese occupation for himself and find out if he could lend a hand or two in the freedom struggle. He was arrested by the Chinese border police, and after cooling his feet in prison in Lhasa for three months, was finally pushed back to India.
He has been arrested by the police several times in India for staging protests intended to embarrass Chinese authorities, and to call attention to Tibet's political problem. His poetry collection Crossing the Border (2000) presents a disturbing account of Tibetan exile. The title poem, "Crossing the Border" attempts to recapture the travails of the Tibetan exodus to India from the perspective of a mother. Language is an important aspect of the discourse on the exilic experience of the Tibetans in two respects: first, being in exile entails being subject to the languages of the host country and subjecting the self to the cultural politics, humor, etc that often go with language use; and second, language (in this case the style used by the exiled writers in their works) enables us to have a glimpse into the Tibetan experi-
ence as reflected in their written accounts about their exile. Sonam (2005) draws attention to how exiled Tibetan writers try to use language to capture the pain and bitterness of exile, as well as to achieve some purgation of emotion: The experience of being driven from home, and the uncertainty of ex ile life, is emotionally daunting. Writing eases the pain. It salves the fear of extinction and rejuvenates the survival instinct. While the ma jority of the exile populace accumulate wrinkles on their faces and bitterness in their hearts, due to gross historical maltreatments, the poets and the writers chisel the bitterness into enduring images. They let their pens dance to the sorrowful music of time's treachery to produce rays of warmth. Words, however disturbing, lighten up the burden.
These two aspects of language in the experience of exile are interwoven because the decision to use either Tibetan or a language encountered in exile brings up the pain and bitterness of displacement and cultural dislocation. The historical context sketched above is also important for comprehending why and how a Tibetan writer like Tsundue would, as he says, have "three tongues" but "the one that sings" is his "mother tongue." He writes in "Celebrating Exile I: Edu cation and Outlook" (2005a): "One significant change the 45 years of exile saw was in our language...Yes, though I am most comfortable speaking in Tibetan, I write in English. Because much of our school education happened in English, the literary language is naturally the English learned from Indian teachers." As style and communicative code, language thus represents a key site of the Tibetan struggle for the restoration of the homeland and its cultural and spiritual values. Tsundue and the crisis of Tibetan cultural-linguistic identity The Tibetan exile faces a crisis of identity, and this crisis is not only mediated by language, it is also intensified by a cultural process of deTibetization that exiled Tibetans appear to be experiencing. In his es say, "My Kind of Exile," which won the Outloo/Picador Non-Fiction Competition in 2001, Tsundue writes about himself: "I like to speak in Tibetan, but prefer to write in English, I like to sing in Hindi but my tune and accent are all wrong" (2005b). As an exile, Tsundue's cultural-linguistic identity has become plural. Indeed, the self in the modern globalized experience is inevitably
Language, Exile and the Burden of Undecidable Citizenship
plural and even ambivalent, which is why Edward Said writes: No one today is purely one thing. Labels like Indian, or woman, or Muslim, or American are not more than starting-points, which if followed into actual experience for only a moment are quickly left behind...No one can deny the persisting continuities of long traditions, sustained habitations, national languages, and cultural geographies, but there seems no reason except fear and prejudice to keep insisting on their separation and distinctiveness, as if that was all human life was about. (1994: 336)
Exile, as a removal from home, orchestrates an in-betweenness: the exiled person is neither here nor there, even in the choice of language to express self. Exile is somewhere, but, psychologically, the exiled person is nowhere. In Tsundue's experience, the Tibetan exile could be imagined as being between the dragon and the elephant: "If China is a fire-breathing red dragon, India is a giant elephant. In between this, Tibet is once again straining to raise its head as the lost buffer state that it was" (Tsundue 2005c). China and India, culturally and historically, articulate their national identities through the semiotics of dragon and elephant respectively. The Chinese "fire-breathing red dragon" is an image of violence, violence that is, incidentally, com munist, as suggested by the red color. Being between this destructive monster and the elephant offers no respite. It also means an undefined cultural identity, for the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet has caused a serious destruction of Tibetan cultural and religious values. Tsundue (2005c) further narrates this transformation of Tibet: In 1997 I went to Tibet after graduating from the Madras University. I was seeing my homeland for the first time in my life. It was no longer the Tibet my parents told me about. Everywhere there are Chinese, Chinese and more Chinese. The cities looked like the Chinatowns we see in Jackie Chan films.
Thus, not even the homeland could be said to retain its Tibetanness, which shows the tremendous semiotic shift that exiling entails. Although the exiled person may design coping strategies to deal with in-betweenness, including trying to assimilate the culture of the context of exile, the nowhereness persists with the performance of memory and longing for home. This linguistic aspect of his identity crisis as an exile is articulated in Tsundue's poem, "The Tibetan in Mumbai" (n.d.), as follows:
Obododimma Oha The Tibetan in Mumbai abuses in Bambaya Hindi, with a slight Tibetan accent and during vocabulary emergencies he naturally runs into Tibetan. That's when the Parsis laugh.
The "vocabulary emergencies" are moments of crisis, which remind the Tibetan exile that s/he is linguistically and culturally different. It is interesting that the Tibetan facing such crisis "naturally runs" back to mother-tongue Tibetan, which is in symbolic relation with his or her motherland (Tibet). Unfortunately, this running home is temporary and even utopian, for the exiled Tibetan cannot, in reality, return to Tibet to overcome the traumas of exile. Quite painfully, too, running into Tibetan makes the Tibetan exile appear comical, a figure of amusement. Laughter in this case is a symbolic language that is used in subduing the other: to be laughed at as a poor speaker of the new language of the exile space is to be alienated through a shibboleth, to be reminded about one's difference. Dhompa (2005), commenting on Tsundue's "The Tibetan in Mumbai" maintains that in the poem, the streets of Mumbai are the refugee's 'other' where he is found to be without voice. He is neither Indian nor is he ever mistaken for a Tibetan. He can speak the language but lacks the right accent. He is, ironically, mistaken for a Chinese or a Nepali—someone representing someone else to those around him and even to himself—thus he is thrice removed from what he is. He is a historical and a political figure swallowed in a stranger's land and a stranger's language. From this place, comes a text of continual negotiation. How does one negotiate, through language, the philosophy of impermanence we all ascribe to, (in theory at least) with the rigidity of our memories?
The contexts of education and literary communication open up the problems, challenges, and rewarding dimensions of linguistic difference in the life of the exiled Tibetan. India, as a former British colony, is English-speaking, and its formal education takes place mostly in this colonial language. It is interesting that, through exile, Tibetans have had to receive this colonial language, perhaps with an Indian accent, being thus twice removed from the original British English. English-language education for Tibetans in exile in India has affected their outlook and attitudes, such that for many it is now a mother tongue, the variety Tsundue (2005a) identifies as Tibetan English.
Language, Exile and the Burden of Undecidable Citizenship
Yet, while Tibetan exiles in India are multilingual (a reflection of their multiple identities), in many cases this multilingualism is incipient and unbalanced, as can be seen in the poem cited above, in which the exile is said to "run into Tibetan" in cases of "vocabulary emer gencies." As Tsundue (2005a) explains: Most of us in exile are bilingual, some even trilingual. But among the youngsters I have noticed that their spoken Tibetan isn't very good. It's blunt, poor, interspersed with inji or Hindi words, and some even speak a constipated Tibetan; directly translating foreign expressions, much to the consternation of sanjorwas.
These linguistic attributes are not peculiar to Tibetans in exile in India, or even to persons in political exile. They are common, for instance, in postcolonial African contexts where the colonial language has had to coexist with indigenous languages over time. Colonization could be viewed as entailing cultural and linguistic exile, in which case one could find features of mixing of codes and domestication of the colonial language as attempts at dealing with linguistic exile. Linguistic exile (by which is meant a situation whereby individuals are put under conditions in which they are unable to make use of their cherished languages, particularly their mother-tongues), can, of course, take place without a removal of individuals from their cultural spaces or homes. It could, along this line of thinking, be argued that colonization and imposition of the language of the colonizer (which led to the discouragement and neglect of the culture or language of the colonized) is a forced exile from one's linguistic and semiotic space. Such an exile has profound implications for knowledge production and transmission. Tsundue, in the case of Tibetans internally exiled in Tibet through Chinese cultural and political hegemony, rather perceives a positive deconstructive implication of Tibetans speaking Chinese for that language of internal exile itself: for him "the Tibetans' Chinese tongues are setting the (Chinese) red flag on fire" (2005a). This perception of the positive consequences of linguistic exile appears to derive from a consolatory adjustment to the reality of Chinese cultural domination and impact on Tibetan citizenship. Using the master's cultural tool of domination as a weapon to fight back is a common orientation in anti-colonialist discourses. In the African case, writing African literatures in the languages of the former European colonial masters has been seen by some African
scholars as an exile from African cultural and semiotic worlds. Wali (1963), for instance, understood the writing of African literatures in the languages of the former colonial masters as ensuring no future for such literatures. For some scholars, the linguistic exile entailed in using the colonial language to express the colonized self may even appear fascinating because of the experimentations and hybridizations of meaning involved. Nonetheless, the struggle to accommodate local meanings in a foreign language is not a comfortable one. Some writers forced by circumstances to use the colonial languages would have wished to write in their indigenous languages. For some African writers, for instance, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, ceasing to write in the language of colonial exile is a way of returning from exile, a position that Ngugi eventually abandoned. In spite of the Tsundue's perception of the reverse impact of Tibetanness on Chinese culture and language in Tibet, one could read his anxiety over Tibetan education in exile, in terms of linguistic and cultural dislocations that create further distance from the Tibetan identity. This type of anxiety, as Bhabha theorizes, is linked to perceived endangerment of the national familiar familial: The citizen subject held in the temporality of the national present, constituted in this fraught game of fatherlands and mother-tongues, turns amor patriae into a much more anxious love. Explicitly so, when you realize through some of the readings of Samuel Weber that the psychoanalytic genealogy of anxiety is a sign of danger implicit in the threshold of identity.. .Anxiety emerges as an articulation of inbetween, 'between identity and non-identity, between internal and ex ternal,' continually raising that in-between as an agential problem, a problem of agency. I am not just saying that the in-between is something somehow disavows any kind of fixity of position, but it becomes the place for interrogation, the place for critical reflectiveness. This anxious boundary that is also a displacement of the peripheral has a specific relevance to the national identification when we realize that what distinguishes fear from anxiety in the psychoanalytic sense is a certain occlusion of the naturalness of the reference. Anxiety emerges, Freud says, in response to its perceived danger, and loss of perception attached to familiar and familial images, situations, and representations. (1998: 11)
Both the spatial and linguistic forms of the Tibetan exile engender a psychological exile that involves being removed from values that one is emotionally attached to, or modes of expressing an experience of the world, including one's identity.
Language, Exile and the Burden of Undecidable Citizenship
In crossing national and linguistic borders exiled subjects embody borderlessness, which in speech sometimes involves "vocabulary emergencies." Indeed, such emergencies symbolize the anxiety to be one/self at once while being the other. It is an expression of the anxiety to achieve linguistic communion and community with the other, who is equally a subject of British linguistic imperialism. The failure of the linguistic "at-one-ment" with the host would intensify anxiety over the double hegemony faced by Tibetan culture and language, both within the Chinese-occupied Tibetan homeland and in exile. As a transmitter of cultural heritage—in fact, of the familiar images and meanings of the familial—Tibetan language, as a language in exile (both within Tibet and outside) is already an endangered language, and this endangerment is a source of anxiety to Tibetan exiled writers like Tsundue who have "three tongues," but "the one that sings" is the "mother-tongue." The fact that Tsundue is more comfortable speaking in Tibetan, but preferring to write in English may be related to a number of fac tors including the perception of English as a language of prestige and the need for wider readership (since English has become a global language). As Zivancevic (2004) observes: There are, invariably, two possibilities for a writer in exile: either to accept writing in the language of the community that he (sic) lives in, or continue writing in his (sic) mother tongue. The latter option could prove an extremely lonely and unrewarding process that might entail the loss of the readership and the writing community that the author used to inhabit prior to his (sic) exile. Alternatively, for those authors with enough courage and inner resilience this option can open new possibilities of self-expression.
In the Tibetan case, writing in English is a necessity, since they have to tell the world about the problem of Tibet and their struggle for freedom (Shakabpa 2005). In spite of the fact that Tsundue has had to write in a language that is not his mother-tongue, one still finds that his meanings are not totally English. It would not be easy, as Zivancevic explains, for me, as a non-Tibetan-speaking person to detect these meanings within Tsundue's writings, except those that have been glossed. One may find evidence of this embedding of Tibetan mean ings in English discourse in Tsundue's strategic code mixing, for in stance in "Losar Greeting," in which he uses the Tibetan greeting, "Tashi Delek!" To greet in Tibetan in a discourse (a poem) written in
English suggests an orientation towards foregrounding his (linguistic and) cultural hybridity. It is also an attempt at deconstructing the sup posed Englishness of the discourse (and thus his own identity as an addresser), a practice typified by using Tibetan-language concepts in his essays. As a form of negotiating feelings of ingroupness (with fellow Tibetans), a Tibetan greeting inserted in a non-Tibetan language discourse reveals the struggle that goes on at the discursive level to identify the exiled self with home, identifying with the mother-tongue as a way of signifying identification with the motherland. Shakabpa (2005) has argued that what is essential for the Tibetan poet is to try to express "in precise English what his (sic) Tibetan heart feels." Since this is an onerous task, a useful strategy would be "to first write down what the heart feels in whatever language the writer feels most comfortable with and then use the English language to interpret that feeling." Yet some forms of language like "Tashi Delek" cannot be translated into English without their cultural and pragmatic meanings being sacrificed. Moreover, mixing English and Tibetan is a strategy for calling the attention of the global, Englishlanguage audience to the presence of the travailing cultural and political identity of Tibet. 2
Writing images of exile How does Tsundue stylistically represent the exile environment? How are exile and the Tibetan homeland perceived or configured? What Among the Tibetan-language concepts Tsundue uses are: "Semshook," which he explains as "the courage and determination it takes for the truth to prevail. The will ingness to make any sacrifice the truth demands, and finally the act of achieving it"; "Chosi-Sung-Drel," or "the harmony of spiritual and temporal principles"; "Mangsto," Tibetan democratic vision; "Sonsta," the power of Tibetan youth to create a future for the country; and "Gyami," a Tibetan negative stereo-type for the Chinese, part of an anti-Chinese discourse of derogation explained as follows: "In Tibet, there is...an exclusive racial term 'Gyarik,' meaning Chinese race. Since their imperial claims made over Tibet and subsequent occupation of land and suppression, Gyamis are looked at as the 'Tendra' enemy of Buddhism, a cunning race, untrustworthy, unethical and absolutely cruel.the Gyamis eat anything: all creepy-crawlers, insects and animals; their children are named after throwing utensils on the floor, therefore the Chinese names: Ching Chong Ling Zing. On our exile theatre stages, we never saw any Chinese other than soldiers. They are just gun-brandishing brutal soldiers, and not individual characters" (Tsundue 2004a).
Language, Exile and the Burden of Undecidable Citizenship
sense can be made from such representations about the problem of living and constructing cultural citizenship in exile in India? An inter esting representation of the exile environment occurs in Tsundue's poem mentioned earlier, "Losar Greeting" (Tsundue: n.d.), which is addressed to a fictitious sister. In the poem, the exile space is a "bor rowed garden" on which this sister grows: Though in a borrowed garden you grow, grow well my sister. Send you roots through the bricks, stones, tiles and sand. Spread your branches wide and rise above the hedges high. Tashi Delek!
Growing in a "borrowed garden" is a risk, for the owner of the garden may take the garden any time, in which case the plant may be uprooted or forfeited to the owner. Exile is therefore an uncertainty, a life of unsettled mind. It is difficult to imagine how the sister could grow "well" in such a borrowed garden. The Tibetan festival, Losar, provides a context for the expression of the sense of cultural and religious dislocation orchestrated by exile. The addressee in the poem, referred to as "my sister" (a Tibetan woman who has converted to Catholicism and is in a convent), is configured as a tree growing in this "borrowed garden" of exile, and is therefore nourished in values not Tibetan; in fact, she, like many Tibetans in exile, face a danger of being de-Tibetanized. It is significant that the addresser chooses to greet her in the way that Tibetans have to greet themselves at the feast of Losar. The greeting is a strategic reminder of shared cultural semiotic and identity. In a sense, the greeting remembers the shared cultural value and the Tibetan homeland (to which they hope to return); it remembers to remember Tibet and Tibetanness. Dhompa (2005) has pointed out that nostalgia, such as Tsundue expresses in his poem "Losar Greeting," characterizes Tibetan exile poetry, and this nostalgia is political in the Tibetan experience. The act of greeting is recognized in sociolinguistics and discourse studies as "phatic communion." In this regard, greeting the Tibetan "Losar" way is an important ritual through which (Tibetan) relationship is serviced. "Tashi Delek!" thus is, pragmatically speaking, more about relationship than the idea
the actual content of the words of the greeting. The poem, which is now framed as a greeting, is thus tenor-marked, and this tenor appears to be wider tenor rather then immediate tenor. Tsundue's representation of the Tibetan-exile living environment in India as a decaying, dilapidated place that is fast being claimed by the jungle rhetorically evokes pity about the Tibetan exilic condition. 3
grass on the roof, beans sprouted and climbed down the vines, money plants crept in through the window, our house seems to have grown roots. The fences have grown into a jungle, now how can I tell my children where we came from.
The poem, "Exile House," ends in despair, which is in agreement with the depressing environment already described. If the "home" in exile is depressing, it cannot be a place of respite. One could read the psy chological implications of the exilic experience, especially the squalor of the living environment. Exilic narrative, as seen in the poems of Tenzin Tsundue, rhetorically exposes the trauma and stress that constitute the major sources of the pained expression that we must expect from Tibetans who were forced out of their homeland when it was invaded and about a million of their people killed by Chinese soldiers. The exile house that Tsundue writes about thus reminds the exiled Tibetan about displacement and the painful loss of the home/land. The whereness and weirdness of the location of self Exile is first of all a relocation of self (or of community, as in the Ti betan case), which amounts to a dislocation, especially for people like Tsundue whose identities have been pluralized and problematized by the exile experience. Being displaced and emplaced are important stylistic issues for Tenzin in his representation of the Tibetan experience, and a closer look at his textual strategies in this regard would help to elucidate the orientations he maintains in trying to communicate the predicament of the Tibetan exile community with reference to their Immediate tenor refers to "personal relations established face to face," while wider tenor is "the expected roles that society allots to the speakers" (Haynes 1992: 14, 15).
Language, Exile and the Burden of Undecidable Citizenship
sense of place. Using the self as a locus, he addresses the weirdness of his whereness as follows in his poem, "My Tibetanness": I am a Tibetan. But I am not from Tibet. Never been there. Yet I dream of dying there.
The problem of emplacement is captured in Tsundue's exile poetry through the spatial deixis of "here" and "there," which, in their contrasting locative meanings, underline the idea of strandedness. The exiled individual's home is neither "here" nor "there," especially in the Tibetan case where Tibet as a homeland has been defamiliarized by the Chinese invasion and occupation. Tibet now has acquired a Chineseness that makes its cultural and national identity ambivalent, and cannot be recognized as its former self, even though exiled Tibetans imagine their attachment to it and hope to return to and rebuild it someday. Tsundue himself is ambivalent in his perception of the whereness of home. In "My Kind of Exile" (2005b), he asserts: "Home for me is real. It is there, but I am very far from it. It is the home my grandparents and parents left behind in Tibet. It is the valley in which my Popola and Momo-la had their farm and lots of yaks, where my parents played when they were children" (italics mine). Yet in his poem, "My Tibetanness," he asserts that he is "a Tibetan... / not from Tibet" Even in "My Kind of Exile," he begins by saying, "Ask me where I'm from and I won't have an answer. I feel I never really belonged anywhere. Never really had a home" (italics mine). Home, therefore, is merely imagined for an exile like him. Home is a lost heritage that he seeks to recover, hence the instability of this whereness, as reflected in the poem, "Horizon": From home you have reached the Horizon here. From here to another here you go. From there to the next next to the next horizon to horizon every step is a horizon.
The exiled self travels from "here" to another "here," and the "here" is "there," every "here" is a "there." The "here" of the Tibetan exile appears to be a receding horizon. Tibet is a "t/here" for Tsundue because, while he identifies with it as his "home/land," he was not born there, is not physically located there, and is not purely Tibetan. His claim to a Tibetan "hereness" is psycho logical, which seems to demonstrate that we choose our homes; they do not choose us. As a "there," Tibet is culturally and physically dis tant for Tsundue. The "hereness" of India in his poem is, at one level, normal as we would expect him to point to and differentiate physical locations in the discourse. Yet his Indian "hereness" is a distancing from his Tibetan homeland, and so could be properly represented as a "t/here'; that is, a "here-there." India, therefore, is his "t/hereness," an ambivalent emplacement that is replicated in migrations of Tibetans from exile to other places, other "t/herenesses" of exile. Cultural/ Geographical Space Psychosocial Identity differen tiation Spatial/locative deixis Specific linguistic description