Colgate University

First-Year Course Offerings — Fall 2022

CORE C197   Tibet
RestrictionsNo 2024 2023
Core AreaCommunities & Identities

Examines the formation of a Tibetan identity. This is largely a recent phenomenon brought about unwittingly by the ethnocentric policies imposed throughout the Tibetan Plateau by the modern Chinese state. However, earlier processes were already under way before the People's Liberation Army entered Tibet in the 1950s, which made the transition from a constellation of feudal polities to a nation possible. These included a common written language, common subsistence patterns (farming, pastoralism, and trade), Buddhism, participation in common rituals and festivals (especially religious pilgrimage), a certain respect for the authority of the Dalai Lamas, and so on. Students examine these processes as well as the consequences of China's political and economic incorporation of Tibetan areas into its nascent nation-state. Specific topics to be explored include "the Tibet Problem" (i.e. contemporary Sino-Tibetan relations and conflict), the historic colonial and religious ties between China Proper and Tibet, religious life and everyday Tibetans, "nomadism" (or pastoralism), polyandry and women in Tibet, and Tibetans' encounter with modernity and the West.