SHTS IATS Jeannine and Saul

Panel “New perspectives on Tibetan social history (17th–20th centuries)” at the IATS, July 2013, Ulaanbaatar

The third conference of SHTS took the form of a panel convened by Jeannine Bischoff and Saul Mullard (pictured) at the Thirteenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, held in Ulaanbaatar on 21–27 July 2013.

Link to the IATS website :

Panel title : “New Perspectives on Tibetan Social History (17th–20th centuries)”

Panel Abstract :

Whatever strengths and weaknesses of the existing research on the period that corresponds to the duration of the Ganden Phodrang government (1642–1959), the current state of scholarship has not been able to give a representative idea of the whole that is the Tibetan cultural world. The aim of this panel is to characterise adequately Tibetan societies for the mid-17th to the mid-20th centuries by addressing several issues such as the nature of legal, fiscal and administrative relations among the various centres and peripheries in the region; the adequacy of characterising Tibet as a feudal society; the social role of clerics and nobles, farmers, nomads, craftsmen and traders; the organisation of civil society, and strategies of dispute resolution and the numerous legal systems that prevailed in different areas. The participants will examine specific social groups and institutions and present their research on various areas (Central Tibet, the North-eastern periphery, the Himalayan belt and the Beijing-based Qing administration) of “ethnographic Tibet”, as well as their relations with each other and the greater political and cultural power, using an unexploited wealth of written documentation (archives from Tibet, Nepal and India) in combination with published material and field research.

The proceedings of this panel are currently being prepared for publication.