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In the months prior to His Holiness’ visit, a wide variety of programs were organized both on campus and in Santa Barbara to celebrate Tibetan culture. The University Libraries selected His Holiness’ Ethics for a New Millenium as its choice for the annual UCSB Reads program. Two thousand copies of the book were made available at no cost to students, staff and faculty. Forums on the book were also held throughout Santa Barbara. In addition to the ongoing courses on Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan language offered in the Religious Studies Department, other classes on Tibetan-Himalayan anthropology and Tibetan medicine were taught in the Department of East Asian Languaes and Cultural Studies. In early spring, the prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile, Ven. Samdhong Rinpoche, gave a lecture on The Future of Tibet. A few weeks later, Pico Iyer and Professor Robert Thurman engaged in a public conversation on “Why the Dalai Lama Matters” at UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Over several weeks, members of the UC Santa Barbara faculty lectured on Tibetan culture and religion in the local community. The University Art Museum organized an extraordinary exhibition, Toward Enlightenment: The Sacred Art of Tibet, showcasing exquisite tangka paintings on loan from the Rubin Museum of Art in New York. In the the weeks prior to His Holiness’ visit, a renowned monk-artist from Gyumey Tantric College taught a month-long workshop on Tibetan painting for undergraduates; and in the days before His Holiness’ arrival, monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery created a beautiful Avalokiteshvara sand-mandala in honor of the Dalai Lama. In the words of Dean David Marhsall, “this remarkable program of events, culminating in the Dalai Lama’s lectures, were, for our students and the wider community, an example of our public university at its very best.”
  Art Related Programming | Lectures | Film | UCSB Tibetan Studies Courses | UCSB Reads

Tibetan Studies Courses Offered at UCSB in 2008-2009

Department of Religious Studies

Elementary Tibetan (RS 30A-C)
Academic year 2008-09. Dr. Gregory Hillis.
An introduction to literary and spoken Tibetan, including study of classical and modern grammar, with examples drawn from a wide variety of literature. Also introduces students to the use of new digital instructional materials to develop proficiency in spoken Tibetan.

The Religions of Tibet (RS 31)
Fall quarter, 2008. Prof. José I. Cabezón.
A survey of Tibetan religions focusing on Tibetan Buddhism (from its origins to the present) but also touching on the Tibetan indigenous religion, Bon, and on Tibetan Islam. Special attention is paid to the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, their history, doctrines, and meditation practices.

Guided Readings in Tibetan Buddhist Texts (RS 135A-C)
Academic year 2008-09. Prof. José I. Cabezón.
Close readings of different genres of the classical texts of Tibetan Buddhism in the original Tibetan: philosophy, history, autobiography, religious poetry, ritual, etc. Also provides a hands-on introduction to available digital tools.

The Study of Tibet from the Missionaries to Cultural Studies (RS 254B)
Winter quarter 2009. Prof. José I. Cabezón.
An historiographical exploration of the ways in which Tibet (and especially Tibetan Buddhism) has been studied from the eighteenth century to the present. Explores the missionary accounts, the adventure-travel literature, as well as philological, philosophical, and cultural studies approaches to the understanding of Tibet.

Department of East Asian Languages and Culture

The teaching of the courses in East Asian are made possible this year by a generous grant from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation.

Tibetan Civilzation (EACS 181CC)
Winter quarter, 2009. Dr. Irmgard Mengele.
This course introduces student to Tibetans and their rich culture. Who are the members of this unique society? How do they survive in such a hostile environment, and how is society organized? The course includes modules on Tibetan history, religion, language and art.

Introduction to Tibetan and Himalayan Anthropology and Tibetan Communities. (EACS 181DD)
Spring quarter 2009. Dr. Barbara Gerke.
A broad overview of anthropological studies of Tibet and the Himalayas covering six decades of anthropological work from the colonial sources and early ethnographies of the 1950s to issues surrounding current socio-political changes. The course examines topics such as ethnicity and identity in terms of ‘Tibetanness’ and what it means to be a ‘Tibetan’ in the Himalayas. An examination of Himalayan healing rituals, such as ‘soul-loss’ rituals, serves as a window into the classical debates surrounding the practices of ‘shamanism’ in relation to ‘Tibetan Buddhism.’

Tibetan Healing Traditions and Ethnographic Fieldword Methods (EACS 181EE)
Spring quarter 2009. Dr. Barbara Gerke.
An overview of Tibetan medicine in its heterogeneity, the course focuses on ethnographies of Tibetan medical practices in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Tibetan healing traditions across the Himalayas. These ethnographies provide the raw material for detailed discussions on qualitative research methods, including interview styles and participant observation.

To learn more about the instructors teaching these courses, please click here.


Many departments, offices and institutions – both on and off campus – have collaborated to make possible the events described above.

and Various UCSB departments and programs, including

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