Past Event

Monastic Institutions and Social Networks in Late Imperial China and Inner Asia

June 30, 2021
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
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Speaker: Stacey Van Vleet (Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of California, Berkeley)
Topic: Monastic Medical Colleges in the Qing Administration of Inner Asia
Abstract: During the 18th century, as the Qing Empire expanded into Inner Asia through both alliance and war, a network of medical colleges (Tib. sman pa grwa tshang) emerged within Tibetan Buddhist monasteries across the region. Monastic medical colleges, deeply intertwined with claims of legitimate and benevolent rule, were often established through a combination of local initiative and imperial support. How might we characterize the place of these institutions within evolving structures of Qing imperial administration in Inner Asia? This talk will discuss patronage at monastic medical colleges by hereditary nobles and court-appointed banner officials in order to consider this question from imperial, regional, and local perspectives.

Speaker: Brenton Sullivan (Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, Colgate University)
Topic: The Social Networks of Thu’u bkwan III (1737-1802) and Gung thang (1762-1823)
Abstract: Two Buddhist luminaries from eighteenth-century Amdo each composed hundreds of unique texts, comprising over 4,000 folios. What can we learn about their respective social networks by cataloging the contextual data found in the colophons of these texts? Thu’u bkwan III Blo bzang chos kyi nyi ma (1737-1802) and Gung thang Dkon mchog bstan pa’i nyi ma (1762-1823) hailed from two of the most influential monasteries in Amdo. They knew each other well. Gung thang even wrote the five hundred-folio biography of Thu’u bkwan. Clearly their social worlds overlapped, but where and to what extent? By systematically cataloging their interactions with others across Buddhist Asia, concrete and textured maps of relationships and dependency begin to appear. Read in conjunction with other historical sources we can begin to draw conclusions about the priorities of Buddhist lamas from Amdo at this time.

Moderator: Gray Tuttle (Leila Hadley Luce Professor of Modern Tibetan Studies, Columbia University)

This event is a part of the lecture series "China, Inner Asia, and the World: Mongol and Qing Empires in Comparative Perspectives" sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University and the Modern Tibetan Studies Program.

Contact Information

Ling-Wei Kung