Book Details

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    • February 2006
    • 9780231130998
  • 352 Pages
  • Paperback
  • $28.00


    • February 2006
    • 9780231130981
  • 352 Pages
  • Hardcover
  • $85.00


Women in Tibet

Past and Present

Edited by Janet Gyatso and Hanna Havnevik

Filling a gap in the literature, this volume explores the struggles and accomplishments of women from both past and present-day Tibet. Here are queens from the imperial period, yoginis and religious teachers of medieval times, Buddhist nuns, oracles, political workers, medical doctors, and performing artists. Most of the essays focus on the lives of individual women, whether from textual sources or from anthropological data, and show that Tibetan women have apparently enjoyed more freedom than women in many other Asian countries. The book is innovative in resisting both romanticization and hypercriticism of women's status in Tibetan society, attending rather to historical description, and to the question of what is distinctive about women's situations in Tibet, and what is common to both men and women in Tibetan society.

About the Author

Janet Gyatso is Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies at Harvard University Divinity School. She is the author of Apparitions of the Self: The Secret Autobiographies of a Tibetan Visionary and In the Mirror of Memory: Reflections on Remembrance and Mindfulness in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism.Hanna Havnevik is assistant professor at the University of Oslo and is the author of Tibetan Buddhist Nuns: History, Cultural Norms, and Social Reality and The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865-1951).

Readers interested in gender roles in Tibetan Buddhism can learn much from these insights into the lives of Tibetan women.

This stimulating collection... uses Tibetan literary sources and ingeniously mined field research in today's Tibet Autonomous Region and beyond... Recommended.

A welcome addition to the fields of Tibetan Studies and Women's Studies.

Ellen Posman

IntroductionPart I: Women in Traditional Tibet Ladies of the Tibetan Empire (Seventh to Ninth Centuries), by Helga UebachThe Woman Illusion? Research into the Lives of Spiritually Accomplished Women Leaders of the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries, by Dan MartinThe Autobiography of a Medieval Hermitess: Orgyen Chokyi (1675-1729), by Kurtis R. SchaefferPart II: Modern Tibetan Women Female Oracles in Modern Tibet, by Hildegard DiembergerOutstanding Women in Tibetan Medicine, by Tashi TseringWomen in the Performing Arts: Portraits of Six Singers, by Isabelle Henrion-DourcyThe Body of a Nun: Nunhood and Gender in Contemporary Amdo, by Charlene E MakleyWomen and Politics in Tibet Today, by Robert BarnettContributorsAppendixIndex