The Exceptional Tare Lhamo: Transcending Gender Through Agentive Means

This is a chapter analysis from Holly Gayley’s Love Letters from Golok: A Tantric Couple in Modern Tibet (2016). Chapter one is titled “Daughter of Golok: Tare Lhamo’s Life and Context.” I wrote this chapter analysis and thought it would be useful to think with other Tibetans who are especially interested in considering gender in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a continuation of my project to engage historic female figures of Tibet. Tare Lhamo is especially interesting because she was born before China’s invasion of Tibet, she lived through the invasion, followed by Culture Revolution until its end, and was part of the religious cohort in Tibet who began reviving Tibetan Buddhism from the destruction of Culture Revolution. She becomes an important figure to consider when we think about different subjectivities of Tibetan women in Tibetan history. I hope you’ll find the following analysis useful and tempt you to read the book yourself.

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Familiar Heartbreaks: Review of McGranahan’s “Arrested Histories: Tibet, the CIA, and Memories of a Forgotten War”


Carole McGranahan’s Arrested Histories: Tibet, the CIA, and Memories of a Forgotten War is an ethnography of heartbreak (2010). A heartbreak that began with the loss of Tibet. Every time I read this book, I am reminded of people from my childhood who were of the generation that was raised in Tibet but later died in exile. The same people who would share stories of Tibet prior to its invasion. These stories often began with joy, but would end abruptly with sadness—a sadness I did not understand as a child, but was taught about and grew familiar with as I grew older. This sadness, heartbreak, is captured and historicized in this book. Central to the book are themes of histories, that McGranahan argues are “arrested.” However, these historical arrests are not permanent, instead, they are histories that await an eventual release (24). The histories that are put on arrest…

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Decolonizing Ethnographic ‘Responsibility’: Towards a Decolonized Praxis

This past weekend I presented the following paper at the 2016 University of Colorado Boulder Department of Anthropology Graduate Student Conference  titled “The Ethnographic Turn.”


As I ponder over the question, “What does it mean to be a responsible scholar? Responsible to whom, when, and why?” I am struck by how easy and difficult this question is for me to answer. Easy because I am a Native scholar doing work with my own community—I know to whom I am responsible and my community’s path towards self-determination is closely tied to my own liberation. Thus, the kinds of work I produce impact my community and myself directly, so the question of who I am responsible to is not a hard one for me to answer. However, working with the community with whom I’m from does not guarantee I will not produce works that Dor Bahadur Bista describes as “an insecure and…

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