Doctoral defence: Valentina Punzi "Making (hi)stories in Amdo: voices, genres, and authorities"

On 13 June at 12:00 Valentina Punzi will defend her doctoral thesis  "Making (hi)stories in Amdo: voices, genres, and authorities".

Professor Ülo Valk (University of Tartu)
Professor Charles Ramble (École pratique des hautes études, EPHE)

Professor Cristiana Turini (University of Macerata, Italy)
Professor Daniel Berounský (Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic)

This fieldwork-based dissertation analyses the representation of the past and the related understanding of history from the standpoint of contemporary Tibetan communities living in Amdo. The latter is a linguistically and ethnically diverse region in the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau, which today largely coincides with the province of Qinghai in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

While the case-studies presented have a relatively limited geographic scope, they cover a considerable temporal stretch: from the Mongol occupation in the thirteenth century to the regime of a Muslim warlord in the early twentieth century, from the Tibetan bandits resisting the Red Army to the Cultural Revolution in the mid-twentieth century.

The thesis takes a locality-centered approach to give prominence to the narration of those events that are confined into the periphery of Chinese national history, while contributing to pluralize our understanding of the diverse social realities of the contemporary Tibetan communities in the PRC. In a broader perspective, this work unveils the central role of the supernatural in Tibetan cultural strategies that articulate Otherness and ethnic borders as well as individual and collective traumatic memories.

By focusing on the ways the past is remembered and culturally re-elaborated in the context of Tibetan communities in Amdo, the thesis broadens our knowledge of history-making and memory-making practices in the PRC at large.

The defense can also be viewed on Zoom (Meeting ID: 963 6946 8711, Passcode: 128089).

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