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Cover for "The Unknown Country": Tibet in the Western Imagination, 1850 - 1950
dc.contributor.advisorMillward, James
dc.creator
dc.date.accessioned2021-09-23T21:08:11Z
dc.date.available2021-09-23T21:08:11Z
dc.date.created2021
dc.date.issued
dc.date.submitted01/01/2021
dc.identifier.uri
dc.descriptionPh.D.
dc.description.abstractBefore the late nineteenth century, very little about Tibet was known in the West. In fact, Western knowledge of Tibet developed during the waning of imperial Chinese power there and with Tibet's brief "independence period" (1904 - 1950). This meant that when Westerners went to Asia with their own purposes in mind, the cultural material they brought back from Tibet was highly influenced by its bid for a new geopolitical position. Westerners, along with Tibetan diplomats, thus formed a network that actively promoted an idea of Tibet as an exotic, mystical realm whose entire definition was connected with its Buddhist identity.
dc.description.abstractThe art objects, religious texts, and even biological specimens brought back by Westerners were disseminated to a range of audiences through casual gifting, lectures, and museum display. My project examines how these processes shaped Tibet in the Western imagination. Throughout the dissertation, I highlight four main influences on the growth of Tibetan knowledge in the West pre-1950: the impact of Tibetan officials’ own emphasis on Buddhism in promoting alliances with Western countries, the role of empire-building in positioning Tibet as a strategic gain for British audiences, the importance of adventure and imagination in American tales of Tibet, and often-overlooked modes of Buddhist education in the United States. I argue that while some of these trends have been explored in isolation by previous scholars, considering them together gives us a more accurate picture of this construction as an active process carried out by a diverse group of Tibetans and Westerners.
dc.formatPDF
dc.format.extent198 leaves
dc.languageen
dc.publisherGeorgetown University
dc.sourceGeorgetown University-Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
dc.sourceHistory
dc.subjectBuddhism
dc.subjectexploration
dc.subjecthistory of ideas
dc.subjectnetworks
dc.subjectTibet
dc.subjecttravelers
dc.subject.lcshHistory
dc.subject.lcshAsia -- History
dc.subject.otherHistory
dc.subject.otherAsian history
dc.title"The Unknown Country": Tibet in the Western Imagination, 1850 - 1950
dc.typethesis
dc.identifier.orcid0000-0001-5817-8918


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