Drawing on rich ethnographic and historical research, McGranahan tells the story of the Tibetan resistance and the social processes through which this history is made and unmade, and lived and forgotten in the present. Fulfillment of veterans’ desire for recognition hinges on the Dalai Lama and “historical arrest,” a practice in which the telling of certain pasts is suspended until an undetermined time in the future. In this analysis, struggles over history emerge as a profound pain of belonging. Tibetan cultural politics, regional identities, and religious commitments cannot be disentangled from imperial histories, contemporary geopolitics, and romanticized representations of Tibet. Moving deftly from armed struggle to nonviolent hunger strikes, and from diplomatic offices to refugee camps, Arrested Histories provides powerful insights into the stakes of political engagement and the cultural contradictions of everyday life.
Carole McGranahan is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is a co-editor of Imperial Formations.
In the last decade, a focus on memory in the human sciences has encouraged new approaches to the study of the past. As the humanities and social sciences have put into question their own claims to objectivity, authority and universality, memory has appeared to offer a way of engaging with knowledge of the past as inevitably partial, subjective and local. At the same time, memory and memorial practices have become sites of contestation, and the politics of memory are increasingly prominent.