Author Archive

The Exceptional Tare Lhamo: Transcending Gender Through Agentive Means

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This is a continuation of my project to engage historic female figures of Tibet. Tare Lhamo is especially interesting because she was born before China’s invasion of Tibet, she lived through the invasion, followed by Culture Revolution until its end, and was part of the religious cohort in Tibet who began reviving Tibetan Buddhism from the destruction of Culture Revolution. She becomes an important figure to consider when we think about different subjectivities of Tibetan women in Tibetan history. I hope you’ll find the following analysis useful.

Familiar Heartbreaks: Review of McGranahan’s “Arrested Histories: Tibet, the CIA, and Memories of a Forgotten War”

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Carole McGranahan’s Arrested Histories: Tibet, the CIA, and Memories of a Forgotten War is an ethnography of heartbreak (2010). A heartbreak that began with the loss of Tibet. Every time I read this book, I am reminded of people from my childhood who were of the generation that was raised in Tibet but later died in exile. The same people who would share stories of Tibet prior to its invasion. These stories often began with joy, but would end abruptly with sadness—a sadness I did not understand as a child, but was taught about and grew familiar with as I grew older. This sadness, heartbreak, is captured and historicized in this book.

Decolonizing Ethnographic ‘Responsibility’: Towards a Decolonized Praxis

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what happens when the question of responsibility becomes one of obligation; choice becomes necessity, and crisis exists as an everyday reality?

“Tibet and Modernity” with Sperling, Venturi, & Vitali: What is Tibetan modernity?

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I think Dr. Sperling and Dr. Venturi are correct in saying we need to be clear when we use the word ‘modern’ in Tibetan studies. However, in such an engagement, following Dr. Vitali’s warnings, we also need to be careful we do not reproduce the same problems in reifying notions of ‘tradition,’ and assumptions of cultures as belonging on a singular (Euro-American) evolutionary trajectory that is assumed under the banner of the singular modern. This is the same critique that has been launched against academia in general for over 70 years, and something Tibetan studies has only recently begun to consider.

Ayu Khandro, the Traveling Yogini of Kham

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Ayu Khandro was a highly regarded neljorma, yogini, in eastern Tibet, who was born in 1839 and died in 1953 at the age of hundred-and-fifteen. Unlike Sera Khandro, Ayu Khandro did not leave… Continue reading

How do we Tibetans create our own sense of Place? Why should it matter?

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How do Tibetans construct their own space and place, and what does cham have anything to do with this? While there are many socio-cultural ways in which Tibetans construct their own place, I focus my discussion on how Tibetans construct their own spaces through the masculine ritual practice of cham, and how Tibetans respond when those spaces and places are encroached upon.

A Gendered Reading of the Life & Times of Yogini Sera Khandro: A Critical Review of Jacoby’s Love & Liberation

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Sarah H. Jacoby’s Love And Liberation: Autobiographical Writings of the Tibetan Buddhist Visionary Sera Khandro (2014) is a close reading by Jacoby on the life and times of Sera Khandro, a renowned female… Continue reading

When Tibetan Women ruled Tibet

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she realizes the demoness Srin, who represents the Tibetan landscape itself, is causing all the difficulties. To subdue her, they build a total of thirteen Buddhist temples, some of which still stand today in places like Bhutan (39), to pin her down on her back. Four in the inner realm of Tibet to pin her shoulder and hip. Four at the border areas, pinning her knees and elbows. Four at the boarders beyond to pin her hands and feet. And finally, one at the Jo-khang, symbolizing her heart and considered the center of Tibet (38). Thus Srin is subdued and Buddhism can reign over Tibet. Besides Buddhist domination of Srin, what is this myth really about? And why is the demoness gendered as female?

On Being Tibetan and a(n intersectional) Feminist

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  Feminism isn’t about having to be a certain kind of “strong,” it’s about letting people have their own definitions of who they are and the rest of us accepting that instead of… Continue reading

The Unexpected Familiary: Finding Myself in the Kingdom of Lo (Mustang)

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After two weeks in Boudha, Kathmandu, Nepal, I became bored. I was itching to get out. Several friends on Facebook suggested I check out Sherpa country or Mustang, and then I remembered my… Continue reading