Islamic Shangri-La

Islamic Shangri-La

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David Atwill transports readers to the heart of the Himalayas as he traces the rise of the Tibetan Muslim community from the seventeenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Radically altering popular interpretations that have portrayed Tibet as isolated and monolithically Buddhist, Atwill’s vibrant account demonstrates how truly cosmopolitan Tibetan society was by highlighting the hybrid infl uences and internal diversity of Tibet. In its exploration of the Tibetan Muslim experience, Islamic Shangri-La presents an unparalleled perspective of Tibet’s standing during the rise of post–World War II Asia.

“Atwill’s groundbreaking book traces a forgotten Muslim thread through the knot of identity, subjecthood, and citizenship in twentieth-century Tibet, offering a fresh perspective on the region’s tumultuous modern history. It is a highly readable narrative of a Muslim community that has often been rendered invisible, and an important statement on the transition from empires to nation-states at the Inner Asian nexus of Tibet, China, India, and the Islamic world.” RIAN THUM, author of The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History

“The history of the Tibetan Muslims, which at fi rst may seem like yet another borderland oddity, actually provides a remarkable vantage point from which to survey Asian history anew. Not only does Atwill’s use of untapped archival sources and interviews produce original scholarship, but his innovative framing of the material provides valuable perspectives on a history we thought we knew quite well.” JOHAN ELVERSKOG, author of Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road

DAVID G. ATWILL is Associate Professor of History at Penn State University where he teaches a broad range of courses on China, Tibet, and world history. His previous books include The Chinese Sultanate: Islam, Ethnicity, and the Panthay Rebellion in Southwestern China, 1856–1873 and Sources in Chinese History: Diverse Perspectivesfrom 1644 to the Present.

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  • Boundaries
  • China
  • diaspora
  • Himalayas
  • Lhasa
  • Tibet
  • Tibetan Muslims
  • transnational


DOI: 10.1525/luminos.55


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