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From Empire to Utopia: The Effacement of Colonial Markings in Lost Horizon

From Empire to Utopia: The Effacement of Colonial Markings in Lost Horizon positions 7:2 Fall 1999 freely and frequently, evidently as a convenient and fortuitously poetic nomenclature for the whole complex of fantasies surrounding (or constituting) the nation, that is, as an evocative name for the Tibet of Western imagination as opposed to something like the real Tibet. In short, here as elsewhere, Shangri-La functioned as a name for that famous Nowhere that has existed for some time in the Western and Western-influenced imagination2 and in the imagination only-the mythic entity that today threatens to overpower and occlude the actual historical conditions of the Tibet problem.3 As many participants of the conference were evidently aware, such a fantastically positive, idealized notion of a foreign society -which, for that very reason, is made to serve as a mirror image of, and possibly a panacea to, many of the ills of contemporary Western or Western-dominated nationscould be just as detrimental to the welfare of the people associated with these fantasies (Tibetans in this case) and ultimately just as irresponsible and offensive as the other, perhaps more familiar, thoroughly negative image of the non-West as benighted nations of despots, savages, and cannibals. Indeed, it seems all too obvious that the intense yearning for http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

From Empire to Utopia: The Effacement of Colonial Markings in Lost Horizon

positions asia critique , Volume 7 (2) – Sep 1, 1999

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 1999 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1527-8271
DOI
10.1215/10679847-7-2-541
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

positions 7:2 Fall 1999 freely and frequently, evidently as a convenient and fortuitously poetic nomenclature for the whole complex of fantasies surrounding (or constituting) the nation, that is, as an evocative name for the Tibet of Western imagination as opposed to something like the real Tibet. In short, here as elsewhere, Shangri-La functioned as a name for that famous Nowhere that has existed for some time in the Western and Western-influenced imagination2 and in the imagination only-the mythic entity that today threatens to overpower and occlude the actual historical conditions of the Tibet problem.3 As many participants of the conference were evidently aware, such a fantastically positive, idealized notion of a foreign society -which, for that very reason, is made to serve as a mirror image of, and possibly a panacea to, many of the ills of contemporary Western or Western-dominated nationscould be just as detrimental to the welfare of the people associated with these fantasies (Tibetans in this case) and ultimately just as irresponsible and offensive as the other, perhaps more familiar, thoroughly negative image of the non-West as benighted nations of despots, savages, and cannibals. Indeed, it seems all too obvious that the intense yearning for

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 1999

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