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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

History (HIST)

HIST 188 (GH;IL) (ASIA 188) Tibet: People, Places and Space (3) This course examines the historical, cultural, and ethnic dimensions of Tibet from the seventh century to the present.

HIST (ASIA) 188 Tibet: People, Places and Spaces (3)

Few places generate as much curiosity, interest, or controversy, in the Western mind as Tibet. This course examines Tibet from a variety of perspectives from Tibet’s political unification under a single ruler in the seventh century up to Tibet’s incorporation into the People’s Republic of China in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Adopting a Tibet-centered focus, this course probes three core dimensions of Tibet namely its people, its religion and its strong sense of place to allow for a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of Tibet to emerge. It will also include an introductory unit that orients the students to Tibetan language, religion and basic terminology so that even those with no prior exposure to Tibet or Asia will be able to engage the material that follows.

Given Tibet’s unique placement at the confluence of West, South, Central and East Asia, to understand Tibet one must understand the traditions of its neighbors. As a result the course will place particular attention to the unique blended cultural, religious and political structures that emerged. Similarly, external perspectives of Tibet have often warped or created elaborate interpretive lens through which Tibet is understood as a ‘land of mystery.’ Through an examination of Tibet’s key religious and political institutions such as the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama, and myriad saints a better understanding of the processes by which leadership is understood, construed and even manipulated is highlighted. Similarly, unvarnished consideration of Tibetan’s religious and social institutions such as monasteries, traders and local political institutions help offer a fuller picture of Tibetan life.

This course should be useful for those with an interest in Asian history generally as well as students with background in non-history disciplines such as anthropology, religion, or political science. No background or specialized knowledge about Tibet is expected though a willingness to read primary documents on a variety of religious, ethnic and political themes will be quite useful. In this course students can expect to gain an appreciation for how religion, history and politics contribute to contemporary portrayals of Tibet, Tibetans and their society. Classes will generally consist of lectures, films and discussion.

General Education: GH
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Summer 2012

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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