A talk by Charlene Makley, Professor of Anthropology, Reed College.
In this talk, Professor Makley thinks through the implications of her collaborative work with Tibetans in northern Amdo (Qinghai province) to tell, hear, see and record stories of the late tenth Panchen Lama (1938-1989), the controversial yet beloved Buddhist figure who returned to Amdo in the early 1980s after fourteen years of Maoist detention in a series of triumphant, recuperative tours of rural Tibetan regions. To this day, the absent presence of the tenth Panchen Lama looms large in those regions, where Tibetans lament the loss of his advocacy and voice amidst intensifying state-led development pressures. She takes up Uradyn Bulag's critique to reject the positivist, textualist, and statist premises of "oral history" in favor of a linguistic anthropological approach to narrative as a multimodal and dialogic process of (dis)embodying selves and others in spaces and times. that of a Tibetan sociality and future currently being erased?
Charlene Makley is Professor of Anthropology at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Her work has explored the history and cultural politics of state-building, state-led development and Buddhist revival among Tibetans in China's restive frontier zone (SE Qinghai and SW Gansu provinces) since 1992.