The future of Tibetan culture: challenges and implications

Tibetan Culture

This roundtable discussion with Professor Robert J. Barnett will focus on contemporary Tibetan culture, the challenges it faces and its possibilities for renewal, as well as the implications of these for neighbouring countries and cultural areas.

  • What is Tibetan Culture? Is there a Tibetan Cultural zone or region?

  • How has Tibetan culture been articulated by Tibetan communities, and manifested through languages, religion, education, storytelling and the arts?

  • What are the implications of this evolving culture for the Himalayas, India and Mongolia in the era of China's rise?

The roundtable will be attended by ANU scholars working on China, South Asia, and Tibet, including Professor Geremie Barmé (CAP/CIW), Dr. McComas Taylor (CAP), Dr. Barbara Nelson (CHL), Professor Jonathan Unger (CAP), Dr. Anita Chan (CAP), Dr. Gwendolyne Hyslop (CAP), Dr. Thomas Cliff (CAP), and others.

The roundtable will begin with 10-minute presentation by Professor Barnett and two ANU scholars: Professor John Powers, Professor of Tibetan Studies, and Professor Richard Rigby, Executive Director of the ANU China Institute and Associate Director of the Australian Centre on China in the World. An hour-long discussion will then follow among the panelists and the audience.

About the Speaker

Robert Barnett is the Director of the Modern Tibetan Studies Program at Columbia University in New York. His books include Tibetan Modernities: Notes from the Field (with Ronald Schwartz, 2008), Lhasa: Streets with Memories (2006) and A Poisoned Arrow: The Secret Petition of the 10th Panchen Lama (1997). He has published articles on modern Tibetan history, Tibetan films and television dramas, and women and politics in Tibet, as well as on religious policies, political leadership, oral history, and exorcism rituals in contemporary Tibet. From 2000 to 2006 he ran the annual Summer Program for foreign students at Tibet University in Lhasa, as well as training projects in Tibet on ecotourism, teaching and oral culture. He is a frequent commentator on Tibet-related issues for the BBC, NPR, the New York Times and other media outlets.

This event is open to the ANU community only.

Sponsored by the Australian Centre on China in the World.

Coordinated by Ying Qian (CIW), Ruth Gamble (CHL) and Tenzin Ringpapontsang (CHL).


Robert J. Barnett

Dates & times

Monday, 14 July 2014

11.00am - 12.30pm


Seminar Rooms, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU

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