Category Archives: Others

Exposition “L’ armée tibétaine en vues : photographies historiques (1895-1959)”

L’ exposition itinérante “L’ armée tibétaine en vues : photographies historiques (1895-1959)”, organisée par Alice Travers (commissaire scientifique) et Estelle Car (commissaire technique) dans le cadre du projet TibArmy, sera présentée en version bilingue français-anglais (avec un livret de visite en tibétain) dans la salle d’exposition “L’Interface” de l’Humathèque au Campus Condorcet (Aubervilliers – Grand Paris, métro  Front Populaire)  du 15 décembre 2022 au 10 février 2023 (du lundi au vendredi de 8h à 19h).

Le vernissage de l’exposition aura lieu le jeudi 15 décembre 2022 à partir de 18h00, en partenariat avec la Société Française d’Études du Monde Tibétain.

Il sera précédé d’un atelier introductif (programme) qui se tiendra  entre 16h00 et 17h45 à l’Auditorium de l’Humathèque, avec des interventions de la commissaire scientifique (Alice Travers) et des deux conseillers curatoriaux et éditoriaux de l’exposition (Emma Martin et Donald La Rocca).

En marge de l’ exposition, un Cycle de conférences intitulé “Archives photographiques pour la recherche en science humaines sur le monde Tibétain” se tiendra tous les jeudis du mois de janvier (programme).

Des visites guidées de l’exposition par Alice Travers sont proposées les jeudis 12 janvier à 16h00 et 26 janvier à 14h30. RDV dans le hall d’entrée de l’Humathèque.

L’Humathèque, 10 Cours des Humanités, 93322 Aubervilliers
(Ligne de métro : 12 / Station : Front Populaire)

L’ exposition est accompagnée d’une publication :

Alice Travers. 2022. Marching into View: The Tibetan Army in Historic Photographs 1895–1959. Potsdam: edition-tethys, coll. Wissenschaft/Science vol. 5, 209 p.

Plan d’accès

Book presentation: “Conflict in a Buddhist Society: Tibet under the Dalai Lamas”

Thursday 9 December 2021 – 5:30 pm –7:00 pm

Peter Schwieger (University of Bonn) presented his book “Conflict in a Buddhist Society: Tibet under the Dalai Lamas”

The presentation is now available online (see below).

Conflict in a Buddhist Society presents a new way of looking at Tibet under the rule of the Dalai Lamas (1642–1959). Although this era can be clearly delineated as a distinct period in the history of Tibet, many questions remain concerning the specific form of rule established. Author Peter Schwieger attempts to make transparent the complexity and dynamics of the Dalai Lamas’ domination using the work of sociologist Niklas Luhman (1927–1998) as his theoretical starting point. Luhman’s systems theory allows Schwieger to approach Tibetan history and culture as a remarkable effort to create—under times of great conflict and stress and using uncommon means—a stable social and political order. Such a methodology provides the distance needed to move beyond event-based narrative history and understand the structures that made social action possible in Tibet and the operations by which its society as a whole distinguished itself from its environment.

Schwieger begins by asking the crucial question of how Tibet’s society dealt with conflict. The chapters that follow answer this question from various perspectives: history and memory; domination; hierarchy; center and periphery; semantics; morality and ethics; ritual; law; and war. Each reveals a different avenue for cross-cutting discourses in the historical and social sciences. Together, they provide a comprehensive picture of how conflicts were portrayed in Tibet society and how the manner in which they were handled stabilized the country for a considerable time but were ultimately unsuccessful in the face of radical upheavals in its environment.

Situated at the intersection of systems theory, conflict theory, and Tibetan/Inner Asian history and society, Conflict in a Buddhist Society will be of considerable interest to students and scholars in these areas. Its theoretical rather than narrative-descriptive approach to the history of the three centuries of Dalai Lama rule will be welcomed as wide-ranging and insightful.

View the presentation in full screen mode

Tantric Rituals as War Propaganda in 17th-18th Century Tibet, China and Mongolia

George FitzHerbert is participating in the conference in the Chinese Military Society on April 5th, 2018, which is taking place in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

Tantric Rituals as War Propaganda in 17th-18th Century Tibet, China and Mongolia

The Water-Horse year of 1642 is a watershed year in Tibetan history, when the Tibetan plateau was united for the first time since the period of the old Tibetan empire (7th-9th centuries CE) under the charismatic authority of the 5th Dalai Lama Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso and his military backer, the Qoshot Mongol chief Gushri Khan. Though this unification was achieved through force of arms, the new status quo was maintained by the charismatic authority of the new rulership as symbolised by the Potala Palace built a few years later. In this presentation, based partly on ritual texts authored by the 5th Dalai Lama himself, George FitzHerbert will show that a key part of this charisma was the Dalai lama’s perceived expertise in ‘war magic’ – tantric rituals to repel and annihilate enemies (Tib: dmag zlog). The paper will show the lengths to which the 5th Dalai Lama went to nurture this reputation, and harness the charisma of such war magic to his new Ganden Phodrang Tibetan government. The paper will also show how the politics of war magic remained central to the dynamics of Tibetan-Mongol-Qing relations for the rest of the 17th and 18th centuries.

How to Reconcile Buddhism and Violence? Examples from the Tibetan Army of the dGa’ ldan pho brang

Castle of Leh in Ladakh
Illustration found in Ladák, Physical, Statistical and Historical; with Notices of the Surrounding Countries, by Alexander Cunningham Published in London, 1854.

Federica Venturi (CNRS, CRCAO) participated in the inaugural conference of the Italian Association for Tibetan, Himalyan and Mongolian Studies – Associazione Italiana di Studi Tibetani, Himalayani e Mongoli (AISTHiM)- which took place in Procida, Italy (September 12-15th, 2017).

She presented the paper : How to Reconcile Budhism and Violence? Examples from the Tibetan Army of the dGa’ Idan pho brang.

The paper examined the question of how the Buddhist government of the dGa’ ldan pho brang justified the use of war on the occasions in which it deemed necessary to employ the Tibetan army. In particular, presented the ways in which certain important religious figures among the dGe lugs pa, such as the V Dalai Lama, rationalized the necessity to employ violent means. This paper also considered the figure of dGa’ ldan tshe dbang dpal bzang po (second half of the 17th century), an ex-lama from Tashilhumpo to whom the V Dalai Lama entrusted the general command of the Tibetan army during the war between Tibet and Ladakh (1679-1683).

The Association was created with the aim of promoting the study and knowledge of Tibetan and Himalayan civilizations in Italy, supporting research, publishing scientific studies, translations and works for the general public on Tibetan, Himalayan and Mongolian civilizations, and organizing conferences and collaborating with academic institutions.

The challenges of maintaining a standing army

On Thursday 15 December Dr. Alice Travers (CNRS, Paris) will give a guest lecture titled “The challenges of maintaining a standing army: the reforms of the Tibetan troops during the first half of the 20th Century”.

Venue: University of Oslo – Seminar room 10, P.A. Munchs building

The presentation will first give an overview of this new field of research and present the current state of knowledge regarding the creation of the first Tibetan standing army under the Ganden Phodrang government. It will then analyse the content of the military reforms (recruitment, hierarchy, training, uniform, arms and ammunitions) undertaken during the first half of the 20th century under the successive governments, based on secondary literature, and on primary written and oral sources (biographical accounts published in India and in the TAR, archives and interviews), in order to show how the distinctive features of these reforms were closely shaped by the political national and international context at various times.

The lecture is organized by the interfacultary Research Seminar in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies (TibHim), and are jointly funded by Network for University Cooperation Tibet-Norway and Religion in Pluralist Societies (PluRel).