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Editor's Introduction: The Anthropology Of Tibet And The First Tibetan Anthropologists

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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the book, which presents a monograph by Rinzin Thargyal, one of the first Western-trained native Tibetan anthropologists to have produced substantial works of research on Tibetan societies. Rinzin's study of pastoralists from the ancient kingdom of Dege in eastern Tibet represents an original contribution to knowledge about Tibetan societies, and one that is unique and valuable for a number of reasons. The territorial expansion of China's Communist state from the mid-20th century ensured that the Tibetan plateau region remained officially closed to independent academic researchers for nearly four decades, from 1950 up until the late-1980s. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Rinzin's intellectual interests moved towards questions concerning Tibetan identity and its expression in various aspects of the social life of the Tibetan exile community.

Keywords: ancient kingdom; Rinzin Thargyal; Tibetan societies



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