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New Thinking on the Sino-Tibetan Historical Relations: A Reflexive Study of Histories



Parallel abstracts

The present article argues that a new thinking on the Sino-Tibetan historical relations can build upon a critical study of the 「histories」 of the people, the so called Khams or the Qiang, who inhabit in an area along the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau between the Han Chinese and the Tibetans. The ancient Chinese have constructed a history of a 「stigmatic hero」 to illustrate the Qiang's inferior origins and peripheral characteristics. The same peripheral status of the people in the same area was expressed by ancient Tibetan literati in a totally different history, a history started from a group of brothers among whom the genetic ancestors of the people were 「two youngest brothers.」 Thus for both the ancient Chinese and Tibetans the tribal people along the eastern fringe of the Tibetan Plateau were their 「family,」 but were also「the black sheep of the family.」 For the people sandwiched between the Han Chinese and Tibetans have either accepted histories chronicled by the Tibetan historians and became the Khamba, or accepted histories written by the Han historians and became the Qiang, yet within local context they asserted a kind of history that started from a group of ancestral brothers to claim that rival ethnic or tribal groups may expel or fight each other while maintaining that they came out from the same womb. This article concludes by emphasizing the importance of reflexive study of history to smoothing relationships between human groups that are shaped and divided by master「histories」.



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