Tibetan Language and Literature Courses

A continuation of Tibetan 1A, Tibetan 1B develops further listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in modern Tibetan (Lhasa dialect), with a gradually increasing emphasis on basic cultural readings and developing intercultural competence.

Prerequisite: Tibetan 1A

A continuation of Tibetan 110A, this course provides an intensive introduction to a range of literary Tibetan literature. Assuming knowledge of basic literary Tibetan grammar, the course focuses on selected readings from Buddhist texts in Tibetan.

Prerequisites: Tibetan 110A, or consent of instructor.

This course seeks to develop a critical understanding of contemporary Tibet, characterized as it is by modernity, invasion, Maoism, liberalization, exile, and diaspora. It explores the cultural dynamism of the Tibetans over the last 100 years as expressed in literature, film, music, modern art, and political protest. The core topics include intra-Tibetan arguments regarding the preservation and "modernization" of traditional cultural forms, the development of new aesthetic creations and values, the constraints and opportunities on cultural life under colonialism and in the diaspora, and the religious nationalism of the recent political protests.

This seminar provides an introduction to a broad range of Tibetan Buddhist texts, including chronicles and histories, biographical literature, doctrinal treatises, canonical texts, ritual manuals, pilgrimage guides, and liturgical texts. It is intended for graduate students interested in premodern Tibet from any perspective. Students are required to do all of the readings in the original classical Tibetan. It will also serve as a tools and methods for the study of Tibetan Buddhist literature, including standard lexical and bibliographic references, digital resources, and secondary literature in modern languages. In Spring 2018, the seminar focuses on 14th century Great Perfection (rdzogs chen) literature. In particular, we will read excerpts from Rindzin Godem's influential treasure revelation, The Unimpeded Realization of Samantabhadra (kun tu bzang po'i dgongs pa zang thel). Godem's revelation started the Northern Treasures (byang gter) tradition and contributed to the final synthesis of the Great Perfection. The five volumes of The Unimpeded Realization contain a large variety of literature, so we will read texts on Dzokchen contemplation, philosophy, narratives, tantras, severance practice (gcod), liberation through wearing (btags grol) and so forth. To support our understanding of the primary sources, we will read relevant literature in English and discuss it in class, but the main focus will be on reading Tibetan texts.

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor