Modern Tibetan Studies Program Faculty

Robert (Robbie) Barnett
faculty bio
Senior Research Scholar and Assistant Professor;
Director, Modern Tibetan Studies Program
Weatherhead East Asian Institute, #939
9th Floor, International Affairs Building
420 West 118th Street
Mail Code 3333
New York, NY 10027
Phone 212-854-1725
Email:rjb58@columbia.edu
Office Hours: Mon 4:30-6pm

Dr. Barnett has edited or written a number of books on modern Tibet, including A Poisoned Arrow: The Secret Petition of the 10th Panchen Lama, Leaders in Tibet: A Directory, Cutting Off the Serpent's Head: Tightening Control in Tibet 1994-1995, and Resistance and Reform in Tibet (Indiana University Press, 1994). His most recent book, Lhasa: Streets with Memories (Columbia University Press, 2006), examines the collective memory of the local geography of the capital city of Tibet.

From 1987-1998, Dr. Barnett was director of an independent Tibet news and research project in London. He has also worked as a journalist for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), the BBC, The Observer ( London), The Independent ( London), and other news outlets.

Sonam Tsering
Language Instructor, Modern Tibetan
412 Kent Hall
Email: st2931@columbia.edu

Sonam Tsering will be the new instructor in modern Tibetan language. Sonam is coming to us from the University of Michigan, where he also remotely taught students at Yale and Ohio State University, via live video technology. Originally from Rebgong (Qinghai, PRC), Sonam later lived in the Tibetan community in exile in India, founding and editing Bod kyi Dus bab (Tibet Times newspaper).

Gray Tuttle
Leila Hadley Luce Professor of Modern Tibetan Studies
East Asian Languages and Cultures
504 Kent Hall, Mail Code 3907
Columbia University
New York, NY 10027
212-854-4096
Email: gwt2102@columbia.edu

Gray Tuttle received his Ph.D. in Inner Asian History at Harvard University in 2002. He studies the history of twentieth century Sino-Tibetan relations as well as Tibet's relations with the China-based Manchu Qing Empire. The role of Tibetan Buddhism in these historical relations is central to all his research. In his Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China (Columbia UP, 2005), he examines the failure of nationalism and race-based ideology to maintain the Tibetan territory of the former Qing empire as integral to the Chinese nation-state. Instead, he argues, a new sense of pan-Asian Buddhism was critical to Chinese efforts to hold onto Tibetan regions (one quarter of China's current territory).

His current research project, "Amdo Tibet, Middle Ground between Lhasa and Beijing (1578-1865) ," is a historical analysis of the economic and cultural relations between China and Tibet in the early modern periods (16th-19th centuries) when the intellectual and economic centers of Tibet shifted to the east, to Amdo—a Tibetan cultural region the size of France in northwestern China. Deploying Richard White's concept of the "Middle Ground" in the context of two mature civilizations—Tibetan and Chinese—encountering one another, this book will examine how this contact led to three dramatic areas of growth that defined early modern Tibet: 1) the advent of mass monastic education, 2) the bureaucratization of reincarnate lamas' charisma and 3) the development of modern conceptions of geography that reshaped the way Tibet was imagined. Other long term writing projects include editing The Rise of the Modern in Tibet and co-editing Sources of Tibetan Tradition for the series Introduction to Asian Civilizations, The Tibetan History Reader, and Wutaishan and Qing Culture.

 

Tibet Collection Library Staff

Lauran Hartley
Tibetan Studies Librarian
Lauran Hartley (Ph.D., Indiana University, 2003) is Tibetan Studies Librarian at the C.V. Starr East Asian Library of Columbia University. She selects and purchases all types of material in Tibetan, both classical and contemporary, and oversees the PL480 Project's Tibetan materials, as well as developing exchanges with institutions in Tibetan regions, coordinating initiatives with other Tibetan Studies Centers in the U.S. and abroad, and helping raise funds.

She has also taught courses on Tibetan literature and Tibetan religions at Columbia University,  Rutgers University, and Indiana University. Her scholarly articles, reviews and translations have appeared in the  Journal of Asian Studies,  Journal of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (JIATS), Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie, Tibet Journal, Persimmon, Index on Censhorship, Mānoa and in the proceedings of the ninth and tenth IATS seminars (Leiden: Brill, 2002 and 2006). She is also co-editor of Modern Tibetan Literature and Social Change (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008).

C.V. Starr East Asian Library
300 Kent Hall, Mail Code 3901
Columbia University
1140 Amsterdam Ave.
New York , NY 10027
212-854-9875
Email: lh2112@columbia.edu

Chopathar Wayemache
Bibliographical Assistant
Chopathar is the first support staff member ever hired to work exclusively on the Tibetan Collection. He divides his time between Lehman Library and C.V. Starr. Born in Dpa'-ris (Chinese: Tianzhu Xian) in Amdo, he attended the Northwest Nationalities Institute in Lanzhou, majoring in political science. From 1972-1976 he studied music in the Arts Department of the Central Nationalities Institute in Beijing. After graduating, Chopathar worked as a composer for the Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture Song and Dance Ensemble, based in Chap-cha (Chinese: Gonghe) in Qinghai Province. He went to Shanghai for further study in 1985, where he spent two years at the Shanghai Music Conservatory. He is famous for his musical composition Mtsho Sngon-po, " Lake Kokonor," one of the best-known and widely-admired Tibetan songs of the 1980's. He also wrote the `Hor Gli'n Gyul `Gyed' portion of the contemporary musical opera Gesar. Additionally, he is the author of articles and essays on Tibetan musical arts and history.

C.V. Starr East Asian Library
300 Kent Hall, Mail Code 3901
Columbia University
1140 Amsterdam Ave.
New York , NY 10027
212-854-1509
Email: jm900@columbia.edu