Anyone interested in the contemporary history of Tibet would know Prof. Tsering Shakya. He currently teaches at the University of British Columbia. His “The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947” is essential reading for an understanding of the status of Tibet and of the complex Tibetan-Chinese relationship.
Some years back, I had the opportunity to watch a video recording of a lecture he gave at the University of California in Berkeley on the intriguing topic: “Tibet: Does History Matter?” It was more than an hour long but it was a pleasure getting his incisive view on the issue. Yesterday, as I was returning home from work this lecture by him came back in my mind. It could be that I was reminded of it as I was coming after hearing a panel discussion organized by ICT on “Buddhism as a bridge between China and Tibet?” with Prof. Gray Tuttle, Professor of Modern Tibetan Studies, Columbia University, being one of the panelists. Prof. Tuttle’s book, “Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China” is self-explanatory and goes deep into history in making his case of this special relationship.
Therefore, I just had to find this lecture by Prof. Tsering Shakya to share with you all. I give below UC Berkeley’s description of the lecture.
“Tsering Shakya, University of British Columbia
“Tibet: Does History Matter?
“Public Lecture from the “Tibetan Religion and State in the 17th and 18th Centuries: Tibetan, Chinese, and Mongolian Perspectives” conference
Friday, May 5, 2006, 7:00 pm
“In this lecture, Professor Shakya compares Tibetan histories — folk and scholarly, religious and secular, Chinese and Tibetan, local and exiled — to examine the process of selective remembering and evaluate how historical accounts reflect and construct different images of Tibet. He concludes that for people whose history is denied, history does indeed matter, because it is intrinsically tied to the formation of individual and national identities, to issues of justice, and to their precarious futures.
“Tsering Shakya is Canadian Research Chair in Religion and Contemporary Society in Asia at the University of British Columbia. His primary research interests are the political, cultural, and literary histories of twentieth-century Tibet. His publications include Fire Under the Snow: The Testimony of a Tibetan Prisoner (1997) and The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947 (1999). He also co-edited the first anthology of modern Tibetan short stories and poems, Song of the Snow Lion, New Writings from Tibet (2000) and Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan Capital 1936-1947 (2003).”