By Katia Buffetrille, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris)
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At the request of the Chinese authorities, in 2001, UNESCO proclaimed that a millenium anniversary should be held for the Gesar epic. Following this decision, many events took place in 2002 as part of the millennium celebrations, and among them, a five-day festival was performed in Machen (Amdo). This paper, based on observations made during the festival and on Tibetan sources, questions the role assigned to the epic and its hero by the Chinese authorities on the one hand and the Tibetans on the other focusing on the Gesar dances performed during the festivals by monks from monasteries of the various counties of the Mgo log Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. It shows that while the Gesar epic is used as a propaganda tool by the Chinese in their “civilizing” project, it constitutes for the Tibetans a space of cultural expression, not to say a “space for resistance”, a niche where they rush to affirm their identity.
Katia Buffetrille is an Anthropologist and a Tibetologist. She works at the École pratique des hautes Études, 5th section, and is a member of the Centre de recherche sur les civilisations orientales (UMR 8155). Her main subjects of research are the Tibetan “popular” rituals and how they are changing in contemporary China.
ALL INTERESTED ARE WELCOME!
This seminar will be held in English.
Sebastian Veg, Director of the CEFC, will chair the session.
Snacks and drinks will be served after the seminar.
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