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George Johnston’s Tibetan Interlude

Myth and Reality in Shangri-La

Paul Genoni and Tanya Dalziell

Even before the initial firsthand accounts of Tibet appeared in the West, the region’s formidable topography and isolation had produced constant exaggeration and often inaccurate speculation about the land, the peoples who lived there, and the

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The White Cotton Robe

Charisma and Clothes in Tibetan Buddhism Today

Magdalena Maria Turek

Since the 1980s, ethnic Tibetan regions of post-Dengist China have become the scene of a vibrant religious revival. Charismatic Tantric masters play a vital role in the movement in Eastern Tibet (Kham). In Weberian terms (see Weber [1922] 1980: 661

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The Ethics of Collective Sponsorship

Virtuous Action and Obligation in Contemporary Tibet

Jane Caple

In 2014, the villagers and monks of a village in northeastern Tibet (Amdo) came together to sponsor the reconstruction of their village monastery’s protector temple ( gönkang [mgon khang]). 1 Used to store grain during the Maoist period, the

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Jacques Samson

This reading of Hergé's Tintin au Tibet uses the notions of 'the daydream' and 'the haunting idea' in order to approach the text not at the level of its plot, but at that of the imaginary that underlies it, whose presence is betrayed through two series of obsessive reiterations and wordplays around the name of Tchang, the lost object of Tintin's quest. A digression via Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass establishes it as an important intertext, prefiguring Hergé's album in a number of ways: the metaphorical function of the chess game and its close association with the state of dreaming or daydreaming, and the way in which the use of language, particularly the proper name, becomes analogous to dreamwork as words exceed their literal meaning and slide along the signifying chain, destabilising meaning and identity. The article then focuses on Tintin au Tibet, demonstrating the key importance of the famous large panel on the second page, in which the word 'Tchang', cried out by Tintin on waking, is substituted by Hergé for any images of the dream itself. The reverberation of the word, and of words resembling it, is tracked through the remainder of the text, along with a more generalised problematic around proper names and a compulsive tendency to repetition, symptoms of an unconscious grappling with the elusiveness and fluctuating nature of self and other, ontological questions that linger after narrative resolution has been achieved.

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The Elementary Economies of Dechenwa Life

Fortune, Vitality, and the Mountain in Sino-Tibetan Borderlands

Giovanni da Col

This article presents some images and conceptual structures surrounding notions of fortune and luck among Dechen Tibetans in southwest China and reflects on the strategies for negotiating the integrity of persons and other 'social containers'. First, it analyzes the problem in separating the multifarious manifestations of fortune connected to the well-being and vitality of persons and households. Secondly, it examines the ethnographic concepts arising from the interface between fortune and sovereignty by illustrating the cosmological imagination surrounding contemporary state rituals focused on the cult of Mt. Khawa Karpo. Finally, musing on the relation between vitality, containership, and alterity, the article highlights how tracing the flows of fortune problematizes the divide between interiority and exteriority, or the question of where the outside and the inside of a being or a society begin.

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The Artist at Work

Reading Originals in the Musée Hergé

Raphaël Taylor

The opening of the Musée Hergé at Louvain-la-Neuve in 2009 promises to have a significant effect on the reception of Hergé's works. Curated by Joost Swarte, it makes available to the public a broad and regularly updated selection of original artwork. This article considers what can be learned through a close inspection of Hergé's originals for Les Aventures de Tintin. A general description of their material features is followed by close readings of two examples (a sheet of pen-and-ink drawings and a sheet of preparatory pencil drawings) from Tintin au Tibet ['Tintin in Tibet']. By adopting a suitable reading method, we can recover hidden aspects of Hergé's creative process, thereby gaining a better understanding of how ideas for his bande dessinée narratives were developed and finalised during the act of composition.

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The Mule Caravans of Western Yunnan

An Oral History of the Muleteers of Zhaozhou

Ma Jianxiong and Ma Cunzhao

Mule caravans established a network across physical, political, and ethnic boundaries that integrated Southwest China, Southeast Asia, and Tibet. This article is a first exploration of this little-known mobile network. Based mainly on oral history, it focuses on the mule caravans based in Zhaozhou in western Yunnan from the late Qing to the 1940s, when the first motor roads were constructed. The investigation assembles horse and mule technologies and trade organization in detail in order to reconstruct the role and standing of transporters and their networks in local society, in the regional setting, in a volatile political environment, and in the face of challenging natural conditions.

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Smith in Beijing, Stalin in Urumchi

Ethnicity, political economy, and violence in Xinjiang, 1759–2009

Chris Hann

The extraordinary growth rates of China’s “reform socialist” economy have helped to finance not only the United States’ debt but also large-scale transfers to the country’s underdeveloped regions. Yet violence in Tibet in 2008 was followed in July 2009 by major rioting in Xinjiang. This article approaches the latter events through the analysis of contemporary labor markets, socialist policies toward ethnic minorities, and the history of Xinjiang’s incorporation into the Manchu empire. Theoretical inspiration for this longue durée analysis is drawn from Adam Smith, via Giovanni Arrighi’s recent reassessment of the Smithian market model; anthropological work points to flaws in this vision.

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By the shores of white waters

The Altai and its place in the spiritual geopolitics of Nicholas Roerich

John McCannon

The artist Nicholas Roerich, famous for his expeditions (1925-1928 and 1934-1936) to Central Asia and the Himalayas, was deeply fascinated by the Altai Mountains, which he visited in 1926 (even though he had emigrated from Soviet Russia in 1918). His interest in the region had partly to do with his scholarly theories about the origin of Eurasian cultures. Even more important were Roerich's occult beliefs. Ostensibly artistic and academic in nature, Roerich's expeditions were part of a larger effort to create a pan-Buddhist state that was to include southern Siberia, Mongolia, and Tibet. In the Altai, Roerich aimed to locate the legendary land of White Waters (Belovod'e) and build his capital there. Support for this 'Great Plan' came from American followers of Roerich's mystical teachings. In addition, by representing himself to Soviet authorities as someone who might foster anti-British resentment and pro-Russian feelings among the populations of Central Asia and Tibet, Roerich briefly piqued their interest. The Great Plan was never realised, but Roerich continued to believe in the Altai's magical properties.

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Carl Thompson, The Suffering Traveller and the Romantic Imagination Felipe Fernández-Armesto

Ros Ballaster, Fabulous Orients: Fictions of the East in England 1662-1785 Pramod K. Nayar

Katherine Haldane Grenier, Tourism and Identity in Scotland, 1770-1914: Creating Caledonia Eric G.E. Zuelow

Andrew Hammond, The Debated Lands: British and American Representations of the Balkans Wendy Bracewell

Tabish Khair, et al, Other Routes: 1500 Years of African and Asian Travel Writing Brian Yothers

Kate Teltscher, The High Road to China: George Bogle, the Panchen Lama and the First British Expedition to Tibet Felipe Fernández-Armesto

Monica Anderson, Women and the Politics of Travel, 1870–1914 Mefdüne Yürekli

Krista Thompson, An Eye for the Tropics: Tourism, Photography, and Framing the Caribbean Picturesque Annie Paul

Jeffrey Ruoff (ed.), Virtual Voyages: Cinema and Travel Gaetana Marrone

Muzaffar Alam and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Indo-Persian Travels in the Age of Discoveries, 1400-1880 Serge Gruzinski