Complete List of IATS Panels
Kunsang Gya, Eveline Yang, Trace Foundation, Alexander Gardner, Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation
There is a growing desire among professional academics to engage more actively in the areas where they pursue their research. Scholars frequently volunteer their time in the communities in which they work, teaching English or helping out in informal capacities. In recent years scholars – both in and outside of Tibet – have established NGOs to formally address development and preservation issues in their research communities, while others serve as staff or advisors to international organizations. This panel will explore the intersection of their scholarship and their development work, asking how the two inform and strengthen each other, and what can be done to promote this kind of work.
This panel has three practical goals: 1) to bring together professional academics who combine development work with scholarship, in the interest of building a community of practitioners of applied scholarship; 2) to identify further ways in which academics can combine development work with scholarship based on local needs; and 3) to inspire and inform scholars who wish to engage in applied scholarship.
Approaching the Buddhist Tradition of Early Modern Mongolia: Texts and Images Prior 1930. Ms. Uranchimeg Tsultem, UC Berkeley, Mr. Simon Wickam-Smith, University of Washington, Seattle
This panel will explore aspects of the life and work of several eminent Mongolian Buddhist figures prior to the socialist purges of the 1930s: the Eighth Jebtsundampa Bogdo Gegeen (1870-1924), Zavaa Damdin (1867-1937), and Danzan Ravjaa (1803-1856). The discussions will focus on how best to conceptualize early-modern Mongolian Buddhism as a distinct and localized tradition. Specifically, panelists will highlight strategies and tropes employed by these scholars to narratively and visually imagine, remember and create a Buddhist Mongolia (and by consequence, perhaps also a Mongolian Buddhism) in relation to Tibet. Tying together disparate research from various disciplines (art history, literature, history and religious studies), the discussion will explore interdisciplinary approaches and theoretical frameworks, such as 'critical cosmopolitanism', in the study of the Tibet-Mongol interface in the early-modern period.
Bon Communities, Institutions and Lineages
Marc Desjardins, Concordia University, Montreal Quebec Canada
This panel with its wide ranging topic focuses on the establishment and development of Bon institutions, lineages and communities primarily within the Tibetan cultural areas inside present day China or outside.
Contributions to Tibetan Literature: Texts, Genres and Generic Terms
Jim Rheingans, Universität Bonn
Tibetan literature is rich in textual genres that have developed in the course of history and it has its own classifications and generic terms. Despite some substantial earlier attempts, the systematic investigation of Tibetan texts as literature and the analysis of its genres is still in its infancy: while some, such as songs (mgur), meditation instructions (khrid) or spiritual biographies (rnam thar), have been analysed to some extent, others, such as question and answer texts (dris lan), art-related texts, or legal documents remain relatively unstudied. And we have not only to come to terms with a number of historically developed genres, but also need to investigate their indigenous classifications and reflect on how to constructively employ specific methodologies and useful terms for their analysis.
This panel would like to contribute to understanding Tibetan literature (meaning: any written output) in the above-mentioned facets and is intended to offer a platform for any further studies: contributions that deal with observations on any particular genre are as welcome as investigations of historical developments, generic terms, or methodologies for the study of Tibetan literature.
Collecting Tibet: Museums, Materiality and Memory
Clare Harris, University of Oxford
This panel focuses on recent research on museums and the objects they contain. Although previously neglected as a topic in Tibetan Studies, it will propose that museums are important. Why? Firstly, because museums are places where Tibet is recreated for public consumption. In the West and increasingly in China, they are often the site for first encounters with the idea of Tibet as it is evoked in material form. Secondly, museums have recently been inserted into the Tibetan cultural landscape. In 1999 The Tibet Museum opened in Lhasa. A year later another Tibet Museum was inaugurated in Dharamsala, India. In 2003 the Anti-Imperialist Museum was created in Gyantse. Institutions like these participate in wider debates about how Tibet’s history is recalled and controlled. The contents of museums have also begun to be scrutinized according to the discourse of cultural property and repatriation claims. Tibetans have started to ask who has right to own and display the material heritage of Tibet. Examining museum collections enables us to pose further questions: when, where and how did Tibetan sacred objects turn into art? What were the conditions in which Tibet entered museums in the West: by exchange, gifting or more unsavoury forms of extraction? Finally, the panel will look at how objects archived in museums have been transferred into the digital domain to elicit memories of old Tibet for consumption by Tibetans and the global community of Netizens.
Festschrift Panel in Recognition of Hubert Decleer
Benjamin Bogin, Georgetown University, Andrew Quintman, Yale University
This panel will recognize and celebrate the contributions of Hubert Decleer to the field of Tibetan Studies. As is well known to nearly everyone in the field, Hubert’s work is both incredibly prolific and continually original, covering the religious, literary, and cultural histories of Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and India. Perhaps more importantly, for nearly 25 years, he has directed the School for International Training’s program for Tibetan Studies, an undergraduate study abroad program that has served as a starting point for many young scholars working in the field today. As an exemplar of both scholar and mentor, he has had a lasting and profound impact on the study of Tibet, maintaining close relationships with many of the field’s senior voices while actively supporting its new generation of researchers. Since he will turn 70 in 2010, this would be an opportune time and a perfect venue to recognize his contributions.
The panel will consist of current Tibetological research inspired by the scholarly publications, personal communications, and direct mentoring of Hubert Decleer. Presentations will cover a wide range of topics, methodologies, and sources, reflecting Hubert’s own inexhaustible fascination with nearly every aspect of Tibetan culture and religion. The number of presentations will depend on the size of the panel allotted. Ideally, it would consist of a double panel to accommodate both former students and senior colleagues. A single panel would allow presentations by former students. In either case, it is proposed that the panel would result in a publication with contributions by both junior and senior participants. The panel would ideally conclude with a response by Hubert himself.
“Holy Madmen” (grub thob smyon pa) from a Variety of Perspectives
David DiValerio, University of Virginia
“Holy madmen” or “crazy siddhas” (grub thob smyon pa) are, despite their eccentricity, an important type within Tibetan religious culture. The theme of “holy madness” has existed in Tibetan Buddhism from the time of Milarepa all the way into the present. Despite this long history, the three most famous “holy madmen” all lived at the same time and even knew one another: these were the Madman of Tsang (gtsang smyon he ru ka, 1452-1507), Drukpa Kunlé, the Madman of the Drukpa (’brug pa kun legs, 1455-1529), and the Madman of Ü (dbus smyon kun dga’ bzang po, 1458-1532).
To date there has been little in-depth research on who these “holy madmen” were as historical beings or how we have come to know about them. The goal of this panel is to bring together some of the current research that explores this fascinating subject area through a variety of perspectives, ranging from issues of tantric practice to textual production to the bigger question of how we understand the nature of “holy madness” itself. Papers that deal with the subject of holy madmen at any moment in Tibetan history and from any perspective are welcome.
Kham Panel, Peng Wenbin, UBC, Jack Patrick Hayes, Norwich University, USA
This panel seeks to bring together scholars from different disciplines including anthropology, history, political science, cultural studies and religious studies to discuss the Khams pa region in its local and wider contexts. Khams pa has been a zone of intense historical military, economic, political, social and cultural interaction—a zone of intense contact—between China and Tibet with only nominal control exercised by non-regional polities. Building on the theme of intense contact, we seek extensive conversation on the linkages and disruptions that unsettled and tied the region to wider Tibetan and Chinese political, economic and social networks.