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People without history: Tibetan archives and the worlds that hide behind them

09/12/2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

A presentation by Charles Ramble, Director of Studies at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris and former University Lecturer in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies, Oxford.

Tuesday, September 12th, 12-1:30pm 

SIPA #1219, Harriman Institute, Columbia University, at 420 west 118th st.

Legal and administrative documents from the past may have been symbols of social and economic oppression, but they were also windows onto the daily lives and hardships of ordinary villagers, windows that were effectively closed forever by the mass burnings of documents that took place within Tibet after 1950. More recently, the immense value of such documents for our understanding of the social history of Tibetan societies has been demonstrated by the discovery of archival collections in Himalayan areas lying to the south of Tibet. These collections, which are the property of temples, private households or village communities, include a wide variety of documents such as wills, contracts, legal cases and even entire law codes, dating mainly from the nineteenth century. They offer important insights into the lives of ‘people without history’.

A Modern Tibetan Studies Program event. 


12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Harriman Institute
SIPA #1219 420 west 118th ST
New York, 10027 United States
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