Altitude and adaptation: A study of geography and ethnic division

Christopher Paik, Tsering Wangyal Shawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this paper we investigate the influence of geography on ethnic division by drawing evidence from Tibetan ethnic regions in China. Using a novel township name index that identifies the ethnolinguistic origin of each township name, our empirical findings first show that regions with Han Chinese settlement in the past also witness higher concentration of Han population today. We also show that townships located at higher altitudes have less Han concentration. This altitude effect can be both indirect and direct; we find that the indirect effect through historical settlement is small compared to the direct physiological effect through altitude illness. The challenging environment of the plateau region acts as a physiological hindrance only for Han Chinese, and the natural separation continues to persist between the two groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-221
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Geography
Volume40
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013

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geography
witness
plateaus
illness
plateau
China
evidence
effect
Geography
Group

Keywords

  • Altitude
  • Altitude illness
  • China
  • Cohabitation
  • Diversity
  • Ethnic division
  • Ethnography
  • Tibet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

Altitude and adaptation : A study of geography and ethnic division. / Paik, Christopher; Shawa, Tsering Wangyal.

In: Applied Geography, Vol. 40, 01.06.2013, p. 212-221.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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