Rewriting Shangri-La

Tibetan Youth, Migrations and Literacies in McLeod Ganj, India


In Rewriting Shangri-La: Migrations and Everyday Literacies among Tibetan Youth in McLeod Ganj, India, Heidi Swank examines differing histories of migration and exile through the lens of everyday literacies. The youth on whom this ethnography focuses live in a community that has long been romanticized by Tibetans and non-Tibetans alike, positioning these youth to see themselves as keepers of a modern day Shangri-la. Through this ethnography - based on a decade of research - Heidi Swank suggests that through seemingly mundane writings (grocery lists, text messages, etc.) these youth are shifting what Shangri-la means by renogotiating important aspects of life in this Tibetan community to better match their lived - not romanticized - experiences as exiles in rural India.
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Biographical Note

Heidi Swank, Ph.D. (2006), Northwestern University, is an adjunct professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has published several articles on Tibetan literacy and Tibetan youth, including co-editing a special issue of International Migration entitled Affecting Migration.


Anyone interested in migration, youth and every day practices of literacy as well as those concerned with Tibetans living both in exile and in Tibet.