This is co-sponsored by Rutgers Global-China Office. This is part of Louisa Schein's class, "Anthropology of China." It's open to the public. The Zoom link is at the bottom of this page.
Since the mid-1990s, Tibetan areas in China have experienced one of the most rapid shifts from rural to urban livelihoods in the nation. Pastoral nomadic communities in particular are undergoing a shift from subsistence livelihoods on pastures and relocating in greater numbers to urban centers to access housing, schools, healthcare, markets, and other resources. These types of mobility are enabled and structured by state forms of belonging to place, but are also importantly informed by cultural logics of belonging that remain rooted in rural Tibetan home communities. How do Tibetan individuals coming from pastoral nomadic backgrounds position themselves to access new opportunities based in urban centers while still retaining ties to home? How does the experience of relocation reshape their senses of belonging to Tibetan home communities?
Based on fieldwork in eastern Tibet, Chengdu, and Beijing, Dr. Washul will present her research on “translocal” forms of mobility and the place-based identities that shape and are shaped by these regional relocations in the contemporary setting of Tibetan communities in China. Her talk will be followed by a conversation with Ethan Goldings incorporating his experiences promoting sustainability, green development and social entrepreneurship in the region.
Eveline Washul is Assistant Professor of Tibetan Studies in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology. Prior to joining IU, she was the Director of the Modern Tibetan Studies Program at Columbia University. She received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology and Tibetan Studies from Indiana University in 2018. Her research combines ethnography with Tibetan historical sources from the 12th to 20th centuries to study the particularities of Tibetan relationships to places and how these shape the transition from rural to urban livelihoods in the late-socialist reform period in the People’s Republic of China.
Ethan Goldings is an independent scholar with decades of experience as a development consultant. Beginning in 1982, he worked with Tibetans in western China to innovate ways in which their cultural resources can be used to strengthen community-based organizations. Recently he has been collaborating on projects to promote regenerative agriculture, sustainable animal husbandry and rural green enterprise in and beyond the region.