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Tibet and China in the 20th Century

Lecture by Tsering Shakya

Friday, April 5, 2019
6:30 PM–8:00 PM

Tibet’s complicated modern history raises important questions about the nature of statehood and national identity. Tibet’s status as a functioning independent political entity in the early 20th century is a hotly contested topic: with the Tibetan Government-in-Exile contending that Tibet was an autonomous state until it was invaded by the People’s Republic of China in 1950, whereas Chinese authorities viewed Tibet as already being under Chinese sovereignty. Both Chinese and Tibetan authorities have attempted to reduce the legal and defacto issues to simplistic terms.

In this lecture, New York Times-acclaimed professor Tsering Shakya demonstrates how the subtleties of a longstanding tacit relationship were irrevocably altered by the incursions of British Imperial forces and the introduction of Western ideas of state and nation.

“Tibetan-born historian Tsering Shakya, a graduate of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, has produced a studiously unemotional look at the history of Tibet in the twentieth century”

““ South China Morning Post

“He has employed thorough research, a balanced view and a dispassionate tone in writing a tremendously informative, definitive history of his native land.”

““ Washington Post

About the Speaker

Tsering Shakya holds the Canadian Research Chair in Religion and Contemporary Society in Asia at the Institute for Asian Research, University of British Columbia. He is co-lead of the Himalaya Program and currently serves as the President of the International Association of Tibetan Studies.

Professor Shakya explores the confluence of politics, ethno-national identity, and religious practice in cultural production and social transformation across both historical and contemporary Tibet and the Himalayas. He is also interested in contemporary minority policy and social media in the People’s Republic of China.

The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947 (Columbia University Press, 1999) is the first comprehensive account of Tibet’s recent history, and the New York Times acclaimed it as “the definitive history of modern Tibet.” Other published works include Fire Under the Snow, The Testimony of a Tibetan Prisoner (Harvill Press, 1997), which has been translated into more than 20 languages. He was also co-editor of the first anthology of modern Tibetan short stories and poems, Song of the Snow Lion, New Writings from Tibet (University of Hawaii, 2000). He has also published Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan Capital 1936″“1947 (Serindia Publications, 2003), co-edited with Dr Clare Harris, and The Struggle for Tibet (Verso, 2009), a conversation with Chinese dissident scholar Wang Lixiong, which was a landmark publication that articulated both the Tibet problem and China’s internal debates.

Standard Tickets: $20.00

Student Tickets: $14.00

Members Tickets: Free to All Members.

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