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Medicine, Monasteries and Empire: Rethinking Tibetan Buddhism in Qing China
November 26, 2013 - 16:15-18:00
By Stacey Van Vleet, Columbia University
This talk is concerned with the network of Tibetan Buddhist monastic medical colleges that stretched across northern China, Mongolia and Tibet, and spread a framework for ordering bodies, cosmologies, and technologies between the eighteenth and the early twentieth century. Drawing on a range of sources spanning Tibetan, Chinese, Manchu and Mongolian languages, I present a two-fold argument about ritual and material Tibetan medicine. First, Tibetan medicine provided ideals of benevolent governance and served as a vital forum of intellectual and economic exchange between societies across the northern and western Qing empire. Second, the rejection of such traditional epistemologies by Han reformers and their continued advancement by Tibetan Buddhists is crucially constitutive of modern political formations in China and Inner Asia.
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