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Grant number: RZ-50326-05

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RZ-50326-05

Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH 44106-4901)
Melvyn C. Goldstein (Project Director: October 2004 to present)

Oral History of Tibet in India

An oral history of Tibetans in India and Nepal where the Tibetans fled into exile after the failed uprising of 1959. (36 months)

This three-year project (2005-2008) is designed to collect on audiotape roughly 1,000 hours of oral history interviews with exile Tibetans in India and Tibetans from Kalimpong and Darjeeling. The project will provide an in-depth window on how diverse Tibetans lived their lives in the traditional society and how their lives changed after the failed uprising in 1959 when the Chinese government implemented socialist reforms in Tibet and the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans fled to exile in India. This is the second phase of the project, the first phase having already collected about 1,000 hours of taped interviews with ordinary Tibetans in Tibet (the Tibet Autonomous Region). The interviews collected by this project will be translated, digitalized, marked up in XML and preserved in a WebArchive that will be accessible over the internet anywhere in the world. The tapes and digital files will be housed in the Library of Congress and the WebArchive will be maintained in perpetuity by the Asian Division, Library of Congress. In addition, there will be articles and a major book. The University of California has issued a contract for a book tentatively titled, TIBETAN VOICES: AN ORAL HISTORY OF MODERN TIBET. There is an urgency to this undertaking, as time is literally running out to conduct such research. Individuals from the pre-1959 traditional era are aging, and the number of potential subjects is dwindling. Few Tibetans live much beyond their late 70s, and an adult who was 30 years of age in 1959 is today 75 years of age. Consequently, unless a project such as this is conducted now, this cohort will pass and their "accounts" will be gone forever. We are, therefore, on the verge of losing a critical component of the Tibetan historical record-the voices of ordinary Tibetans and an accurate understanding of the diversity of life as it was lived in Tibet and exile. The goal of this project is to fill this enormous gap.

Project fields:
Anthropology

Program:
Collaborative Research

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$100,000 (approved)
$100,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
12/1/2005 – 11/30/2008