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The Melodious Sound of the Right-Turning Conch: Historiography and Buddhist Counter-Development among Tibetans in China
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

In this talk, we travel upriver from the famous Tibetan Buddhist town of Rebgong in southeastern Qinghai province, China to the small and marginalized Tibetan community of Langmo. Here we explore the stakes and consequences of village history-making as a dialogic process in the context of increasing state-led pressures on rural land use. I had met Langmo elders back in 2005 when I was first looking for highland communities to research. Langmo elders, it turned out, had their own goals for our collaboration. Their counter-development plans for the village meant "capturing" foreign donors and converting them to village patrons. Thus my naive offer in 2008 to help fund Langmo's primary school roof repair drew me into deepening relationships with villagers I had never anticipated. And that meant taking a role as a key listener and medium for elders' oppositional accounts of Langmo history. In the face of resettlement pressures, elders insisted that Langmo's Buddhist history grounded the community's sovereign right to their former lands.

Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Preston
Sponsor: Anthropology Program; Asian Studies Program; Religion Program
Contact: Laura Kunreuther.
Phone: 845-758-7215

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