EAC 389 (14851)


Fall 2006


Tuesday and Thursday: 1:15 -2:35 p.m. in Humanities 32


Professor Charles Hartman

            Office:             HU-245

            Telephone:     442-4219

            E-mail:            hartman@albany.edu

            Office Hours: TTh 12:00-1:00 p.m. and by appointment.


Associate Professor Anthony DeBlasi

            Office:             HU-210

            Telephone:     442-5316

            E-mail:            deblasi@albany.edu

            Office Hours: Tu 2:45 ¨C 4:15 p.m.; Th 9:30-11:00 a.m.; and by appointment.


This limited enrollment course will survey the salient aspects of the culture and history of the Tibetan region. Topics of particular interest will include the evolution of the Tibetan social and political structures, the importance of Tibet¡¯s main religious traditions, and the distinctiveness of its artistic heritage (both visual and literary). Course materials will include primary sources in English translation, scholarly works, and visual images.


Students who wish to take the course must receive permission from the instructors.


Required Books:


The following books are required in the course:


Snellgrove, David and Hugh Richardson. A Cultural History of Tibet. 3rd ed. Boston: Shambhala. 1995. (Note that if you cannot acquire the 3rd edition, the earlier editions are also acceptable).


Fisher, Robert E. Art of Tibet. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997.


David-Neel, Alexandra and Lama Yongden. The Superhuman Life of Gesar of Ling. Revised edition, 1959.


The books by Robert Fisher and Alexandra David-Neel are available through the University bookstore. Because Snellgrove and Richardson¡¯s A Cultural History of Tibet is currently out of print, you will have to acquire a used copy on your own. These are relatively plentiful in the internet marketplace. The students are responsible for securing copies of all the required books and are expected to have them by the time assignments are due. Problems in acquiring the books should be brought to the attention of the instructors as soon as they become known.


Below are listed some of the websites that might have copies. Please be aware that everyone is trying to purchase these books, so be prepared to shop around as some vendors may sell out their copies. The early birds will also get the best prices.












Additional Readings:


Additional required readings indicated in the schedule below are available through the course electronic reserve (E-RES) page. The course password will be distributed during the first class.


Course Requirements:


The course grade will be computed as follows:


Midterm Examination                20%

Text Analysis Essay                  30%

Final Examination Essay            30%

Class Participation                    20%


Assignment instructions and due dates will be announced in class. Please note the emphasis on class participation. All students are expected to come to class having completed the assigned reading for that day and actively participate in the class discussion.


Grading policies:

Please note the following policies:

1. Letter grades are assigned according to the following scale: A=93-100, A-=90-92, B+=87-89, B=83-86, B-=80-82, C+=77-79, C=73-76, C-=70-72, D+=67-69, D=63-66, D-=60-62, E=less than 60. Please note that work never turned in counts as a zero (0).

2. Late papers lose one grade step for each day late (thus a B+ that is two days late receives a B-).

3. We do not give make-up quizzes unless you have an acceptable and documented excuse (for example, a medical excuse signed by a physician).

4. Incompletes will only be considered in exceptional circumstances and only with clear documentation.

5. Plagiarism is taking (which includes purchasing) the words or ideas of another and passing them off as one's own work.  If in an assignment a student quotes someone, that student must use quotation marks and give a citation.  Paraphrased or borrowed ideas are to be identified by proper citations.  Plagiarism will result, at the minimum, in a zero (0) for the assignment.







9/5 (Tu)



9/7 (Th)

Background to Tibet and The Saltmen of Tibet (film).


9/12 (Tu)

The Saltmen of Tibet and Discussion


9/14 (Th)

The Early Tibetan Empire

Snellgrove, pp.19-65; dBa¡¯ bzhed chronicle excerpt, pp.52-59 and 76-90; Translation of Sino-Tibetan Treaty: Old Tibetan Inscriptions, pp.34-37, 78-81, and 95-99.

9/19 (Tu)

Tibet¡¯s Middle Ages

Snellgrove, pp.111-155; Deb T¡¯er Dmar Po Gsar Ma (The ¡°New Red Annals¡±), pp.181-188.

9/21 (Th)

The dGe-lugs-pa Regnum

Snellgrove, pp.177-232; The Blue Annals, pp.1073-1078.

9/26 (Tu)

Tibet¡¯s Modern Transformation

Snellgrove, pp.233-267

9/28 (Th)

The Religious Context and Bon

Huber, "Guide to the La-Phyi Mandala."

10/3 (Tu)

The Introduction of Buddhism

Fisher, pp. 11-74.

10/5 (Th)

Tibetan Buddhist Practice

Lopez, ¡°A Prayer Flag for T¨¡r¨¡,¡± Tibetan Religions in Practice (TRIP), pp.548-552.

Nalanda Trans. Comm., ¡°Daily Prayers,¡± TRIP, pp.406-418.

Gyatso, ¡°An Avalokiteśvara S¨¡dhana,¡± TRIP, pp.266-270.

Havnevik, ¡°On Pilgrimage for Forty Years in the Himalayas: The Female Lama Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche¡¯s (1865-1951) Quest for Sacred Sites,¡± Pilgrimage, pp.85-107.

10/10 (Tu)

The Evolution of ¡°Theocracy¡±

Ishihama, ¡°On the Dissemination of the Belief in the Dalai Lama as a Manifestation of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara,¡± pp.38-56.

10/12 (Th)

Geography and Economics

Goldstein, Excerpts from Nomads of Western Tibet.

10/17 (Tu)



10/19 (Th)

Tibetan Social Organization

Goldstein, ¡°Reexamining Choice, Dependency, and Command in the Tibetan Social System,¡± pp.79-112.

Petech, Excerpt from Aristocracy and Government in Tibet, 1728-1959, pp.3-21.

10/24 (Tu)



10/26 (Th)

Tibetan Family Structure

Goldstein, ¡°Stratification, Polyandry, and Family Structure in Central Tibet,¡± pp.64-74.

10/31 (Tu)

Society and Government

Goldstein, ¡°The Balance Between Centralization and Decentralization in the Traditional Tibetan Political System,¡± pp.170-182.

Miller, ¡°The Web of Tibetan Monasticism,¡± pp.197-203.

11/2 (Th)

Foundations of Tibetan Art

Fisher, pp. 75-124.

11/7 (Tu)

Medieval Tibetan Art

Fisher, pp. 125-166.

11/9 (Th)

Later Tibetan Art

Fisher, pp. 167-214.

11/14 (Tu)

Tibetan Architecture


11/16 (Th)

Overview of Tibetan Literature

Cabezon and Jackson, "Editors' Introduction," Tibetan Literature, pp. 11-37. Tibetan Tales.

11/21 (Tu)


Jackson, "Poetry in Tibet," pp. 368-392. Sakya Pandita, Treasury of Aphoristic Jewels.

11/23 (Th)



11/28 (Tu)

Tibetan Poetry

Milarepa. Drukpa Kunley

11/30 (Th)

Gesar Epic

Samuel, "Gesar Epic of East Tibet," pp. 358-367.

David-Neel, Superhuman Life.

12/5 (Tu)

Gesar Epic

David-Neel; Penick, Warrior Song of King Gesar excerpts.

12/7 (Th)

Contemporary Tibet

¡°Tibet: Its Ownership and Human Rights Situation¡± (PRC White Paper)

¡°Tibet: Proving Truth from Facts¡± (Dharamsala)

Goldstein, excerpt from The Snow Lion and the Dragon.

12/12 (Tu)





Final Examination:  Thursday, December 21, 10:30 a.m.¨C 12:30 p.m. in HU-32.