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Geopolitical Exotica: Tibet in Western Imagination (Borderlines)by Dibyesh Anand
Synopses & Reviews
Geopolitical Exotica examines exoticized Western representations of Tibet and Tibetans and the debate over that land’s status with regard to China. Concentrating on specific cultural images of the twentieth century—promulgated by novels, popular films, travelogues, and memoirs—Dibyesh Anand lays bare the strategies by which “Exotica Tibet” and “Tibetanness” have been constructed, and he investigates the impact these constructions have had on those who are being represented.
Although images of Tibet have excited the popular imagination in the West for many years, Geopolitical Exotica is the first book to explore representational practices within the study of international relations. Anand challenges the parochial practices of current mainstream international relations theory and practice, claiming that the discipline remains mostly Western in its orientation. His analysis of Tibet’s status with regard to China scrutinizes the vocabulary afforded by conventional international relations theory and considers issues that until now have been undertheorized in relation to Tibet, including imperialism, history, diaspora, representation, and identity.
In this masterfully synthetic work, Anand establishes that postcoloniality provides new insights into themes of representation and identity and demonstrates how IR as a discipline can meaningfully expand its focus beyond the West.
Dibyesh Anand is a reader in international relations at the University of Westminster, London.
Book News Annotation:
Anand (international relations, University of Westminster) takes the country of Tibet as an example of how the Other is fantasized by Western society. The image of Shangri-la still permeates the image of Tibet along with that of a religious state oppressed by Chinese domination. Anand urges that Tibet should be considered in the light of post-colonialism. The country has never been seen on its own but as a pawn in a struggle among colonial powers. Even those who wish to "free Tibet" are working within a framework that is based on an exotic image of the country. Breaking out of our preconceptions both of Tibet and of the way in which international relations should be conducted would benefit both the West and the "exotic Other". Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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