Category Archive: History

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

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In the following, I discuss thoughts regarding each speakers approach to either Tibet and/or Modernity; I’m specifically interested in how each speaker approaches the concept of the modern.

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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.

By the Men and the Horses Killed – Swearing in the Dege Dialect.

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[Guestpost by Jamyang Phuntsok] i) Gesar Fails Among the many anecdotes from the Gesar epic that Ama likes to recount, one goes like this: Gesar has returned to Ling after slaying the demon… Continue reading

Their Burning Bodies Told Histories Never Forgotten

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In the past few years, an unprecedented number of Tibetans have chosen to drink kerosene and light themselves on fire. What are self-immolations about? They are often framed as protest by the popular media, but is that all they are? Self-immolations are deeply complex, and involve layer upon layers of meaning that need to be considered. In the following, one of the ways I interpret them is by considering the self-immolations as producing historical narratives of Tibet that counter China’s hegemonic narrative on, and current political control of Tibet.

Experimenting with Modernity, the Tibetan way

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Gyatso’s talk wasn’t necessarily on the specifics of Tibetan medicine, she explores the social, cultural and political climate of the time frame she covers to understand the complexities involving the Tibetan society, demonstrating, what I call, Tibetan modernities (outside of western influence).

Non-Refugee Refugees: Tibetans’ Struggles for Visibility in Bureaucratic India

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The struggle for visibility (documents) has always played a central role for Tibetans living in exile, especially for those living in India and Nepal. In this post, I look into this struggle that Tibetans in India face as newly arrived Tibetans from Tibet (second half) and Tibetans born and raised there (first half). During my stays in Dharamsala, India, I came across several different socio-cultural-political-economic phenomenons that have been emerging as a result of the lack of visibility for Tibetans living as, what I refer to as non-refugee refugees, in bureaucratic India. In the following, I take a closer look at one of these emerging intercultural phenomenon currently shaping the possibility of existing on paper for Tibetans especially from Tibet that bureaucratic India has yet to offer.