Lunchtime Seminar – 22 February – Telo Tulku Rinpoche, the Shajin (Supreme) Lama of Kalmykia

February 13th, 2017 by anna.c
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A lunchtime seminar will be held in the Mond Building Seminar Room, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RF

Wednesday 22 February 2017, 12.30–1.30

All welcome

Telo Tulku Rinpoche

The Shajin (Supreme) Lama of Kalmykia

The Revival of Buddhism in Russia

Telo Tulku Rinpoche (secular name Erdne Ombadykow) is the Buddhist spiritual leader of the Kalmyks. Born in 1972 in Philadelphia, US, into a Kalmyk immigrant family, at the age of seven he was sent to study Buddhism at the Drepung Gomang monastery in South India. In 1992 he was invited to the Republic of Kalmykia, south-west Russia, to become the Shajin (Supreme) Lama of the Kalmyk people, a position he occupies to this day.

Known as ‘the only Buddhist nation in Europe’, the Kalmyks are a people of Oirat-Mongol origin who settled in the territory of today’s Kalmykia in the Lower Volga region at the beginning of the 17th century after a long migration from Dzungaria (today corresponding to the northern half of China’s Xinjiang region, the western part of Mongolia, and eastern Kazakhstan). In 1771 with the increasing oppression of the tsarist government more than half of the Kalmyk population returned to their homeland in Dzungaria, an event which constitutes the last long-distance nomadic migration in world history. Those who remained in the Volga region were drafted by the Russian government to fight various wars of conquest, and were exiled to Siberia and Central Asia in toto from 1943 to 1957 charged with the crime of betraying the Soviet motherland. With Buddhism banned and Kalmyk culture devalued during the Soviet period, Kalmyks forgot many aspects of their culture and language. One aspect of Kalmyk culture that has revived since the end of the Soviet Union is Buddhism, in which the role of the Shajin Lama is of paramount importance.

Link to poster here

Seminar – 21 February – Loretta Kim

February 9th, 2017 by anna.c
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Tuesday 21 February 2017

4.30–6.00 Mond Building Seminar Room

Loretta Kim

University of Hong Kong

Imagining Maps in Words: A Comparative Analysis of Two Late Nineteenth Century Geographies of the Amur River Region

In the present century, humans can create maps that depict real-time topographical and demographic features of many places on Earth. The use of such technologies has changed geography as an academic discipline and as an aspect of social life. Expectations regarding the accuracy and authenticity of a map have increased for a range of functions from planning military strategy to plotting routes for everyday transportation. Through a close reading and comparison of Zou Daijun’s Zhong E Jieji (Notes about the Sino-Russian Border) and Tu Ji’s Heilongjiang Yutu Shuo (An Illustrated Geography of Heilongjiang), this talk reconsiders the value of maps designed with as much imagination as scientific knowledge, and how pictoral representations paired with written descriptions could inform readers of both physical and cultural traits of the featured areas.

Lunchtime Seminar – 8 February – Yudru Tsomu

February 3rd, 2017 by anna.c
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A lunchtime seminar will be held in the Mond Building Seminar Room, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RF

Wednesday 8 February 2017, 12.30–1.30

All welcome

Yudru Tsomu

Center for Tibetan Studies, Sichuan University

Guozhuang Trading Houses and Tibetan Middlemen in Dartsedo, the Shanghai of Tibet

Within the field of Sino-Tibetan frontier studies, there is very little in-depth scholarly discussion about commerce, trade, and the people who facilitated these activities across the Sino-Tibetan border; studies in English are particularly sparse. This article aims to contribute to a wider and deeper understanding of the nature of trade on the Sino-Tibetan frontier and the role of women as facilitators by looking at some of the actual “dealmakers.” In the border town of Dartsedo—the “Shanghai of Tibet”—guozhuang (trading houses, Tib. achak khapa) not only evolved into convenient spaces for travelers to come to rest, but also were spaces of flux. It was in these trading houses that traditional notions of gender, class, and hierarchy were called into question and played out in unexpected ways. Women came to dominate the guozhuang because the work was likened to managing a household and therefore viewed as a lower-status occupation. This notion was reinforced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when Chinese values and customs were introduced into the local society through frequent intermarriages between Han and Tibetan inhabitants in Dartsedo.

AMENDMENT – Lent Term – Seminar Programme

January 30th, 2017 by anna.c
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Please see below for revised Lent programme, with a change to the title of the 21 February seminar.

Research Seminars are held in the Mond Building Seminar Room, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RF from 4.30–6.00

LENT 2017

Seminar – 7 February – Sören Urbansky

January 24th, 2017 by anna.c
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Tuesday 7 February 2017

4.30–6.00 Mond Building Seminar Room

Sören Urbansky

Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich & MIASU Visiting Researcher

Same but Different: Sinophobia in Vladivostok, San Francisco and Singapore

Previous scholarship on the “yellow peril” pays little attention on the varying combinations of fear and prejudice that defined different contexts in which it became manifest. Hitherto neglected dynamics between xenophobic discourses and actual dealings in the public sphere can be explored best in a comparative analysis of cities with a high concentration of Asian immigrants. Though the “yellow peril” was established as a concept and a occidental fear that was not bound to urban ethnic ghettos, Chinatowns soon were regarded as breeding places of swirling tales of opium smoking, gambling and interracial romance all of which had become synonymous with the presence of the Chinese and other Asian immigrants.

By investigating selected occurrences, such as romantic love across the ethnic divide, murder cases, or the fear of economic domination, my project will, firstly, test the “yellow peril” phobia on the micro level, its influence on discourses of fear, and the impact of such discourses on official policies and other dealings on the ground as well. A second objective of this study will be to analyze the regional variations and fluctuations of this concept. Thirdly, it will seek to identify the points and trajectories of decline in the perception of Chinese as a “yellow peril.” Fourthly, it will explore how these narratives were received in the Chinese communities themselves. Fifthly and finally, it will explore how people, ideas, laws and institutions moved within the wide universe of the Chinese diaspora to create the “yellow peril” as a global historical phenomenon.