Director, Modern Tibetan Studies Program; Adjunct Professor of Contemporary Tibetan Studies; Senior Research Scholar, Modern Tibetan history
Culture and politics; film and television in Inner Asia; nationality issues in China
Professor Barnett founded and directs the Modern Tibetan Studies Program at Columbia, the first Western teaching program in this field. His most recent books are Tibetan Modernities: Notes from the Field, with Ronald Schwartz (Brill, 2008); and Lhasa: Streets with Memories (Columbia, 2006). His articles include studies of modern Tibetan history, post-1950 leaders in Tibet, Tibetan cinema and TV, women and politics in Tibet, and contemporary exorcism rituals. He teaches courses on Tibetan film and television, contemporary culture, history, oral history, and other subjects. From 2000 to 2006 he ran the annual summer program for foreign students at Tibet University in Lhasa and taught there. He is a frequent commentator on Tibet and nationality issues in China for the BBC, CNN, NPR, CBS, The New York Times, the Washington Post, and other media. He runs a number of educational projects in Tibet, including training programs in ecotourism and conservation.
Before joining Columbia in 1998, Professor Barnett worked as a researcher and journalist based in the United Kingdom, specializing in Tibetan issues for the BBC, the South China Morning Post, and other media outlets. From 1987 to 1998 he was the co-founder and director of the Tibet Information Network, an independent research and news organization based in London.
Robert Barnett and Ronald Schwartz, editors, Tibetan Modernities: Notes from the Field on Cultural and Social Change (Brill, 2008).
Robert Barnett, Lhasa: Streets with Memories (Columbia University Press, 2006).
Robert Barnett and Shirin Akiner, editors, Resistance and Reform in Tibet (Indiana University Press, 1994)
WEAI’s Robert Barnett talks with The New York Times about prominent new Tibet-related films. June 10, 2016
WEAI’s Robert Barnett talks with The Washington Post about China’s cultural control in Amdo, Tibet. December 14, 2015
WEAI’s Robert Barnett discusses Tibet’s attempts to preserve its culture in The New York Times. November 28, 2015
WEAI Modern Tibetan Studies director Robert Barnett writes op-ed about the future of the Dalai Lama for CNN October 1, 2014
WEAI’s Modern Tibetan Studies director Robert Barnett discusses the Dalai Lama’s recent comments about a successor in The Wall Street Journal. September 10, 2014
WEAI’s Robert Barnett discusses the field of Modern Tibetan Studies with The China Story. August 26, 2014
Modern Tibetan Studies Director Robert Barnett discusses Tibet’s integration with China in The Economist June 19, 2014