TINA in Tibet: Articulated Oppression and Tibet’s Minority Languages

Event status:

China Studies Research Seminar Series

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Thursday 14 November 2019 02:30 pm until Thursday 14 November 2019 04:00 pm (Add to calendar)
China Studies Research Centre
Presented by:
Dr Gerald Roche
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This presentation will discuss the policy frameworks that are available for Tibet’s minority languages—the non-Tibetic languages spoken in the Tibetan areas of the People’s Republic of China. In the case of Tibet, policy must be considered as emerging from a number of sources including not only the state at various levels from national to local, but also from Tibetan civil society within the PRC, and the Tibetan diaspora community, including the Central Tibetan Administration. I demonstrate how all these policy frameworks, despite their competing agendas, replicate the same fundamental stance towards Tibet’s minority languages: that of erasure. Building on insights from Indigenous and postcolonial studies, I argue that this erasure is neither accidental nor harmless, but rather amounts to a program of ‘language oppression’— the ‘enforcement of language loss by physical, mental, social and spiritual coercion’—for Tibet’s minority languages. In this case, the oppression of these languages is ‘articulated’, in being brought about by a number of contingently aligned political blocs. Under these conditions of articulated oppression, Tibet’s minority languages are faced with a situation wherein There Is No Alternative (TINA) amongst the various policy-makers within and outside China, and these communities are thus faced with widespread and seemingly intractable language loss.

About the Speaker

Dr Gerald Roche is an anthropologist and Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Politics, Media, and Philosophy of La Trobe University. His work focuses on the politics of language in Tibet and the Himalayas, and his recent publications include the Routledge Handbook of Language Revitalization, as well as articles in China QuarterlyModern Asia StudiesAsian Ethnicity, and Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology.

Room 318, Education 2 (ED2)

La Trobe University



29th Sep 2020 2:04am

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