Faculty


Sonam Tsering


Sonam Tsering is the director of the Tibetan language program at Columbia. Sonam previously taught at the University of Michigan, where he also remotely taught students at Yale and Ohio State University, via live video technology. Originally from Rebgong (Qinghai, PRC), Sonam later lived in the Tibetan community in exile in India, founding and editing Bod kyi Dus bab (Tibet Times newspaper).

Pema Bhum


Pema Bhum is Director of the Latse Contemporary Tibetan Cultural Library in New York City, which is a project of the Trace Foundation, where he has worked since 1997. He holds an M.A. in Tibetan Studies from the Northwest Nationalities Institute in Lanzhou, Gansu Province (PRC), where he also taught Tibetan language and literature. After his arrival in India in 1988, he founded the first independent Tibetan language newspaper in exile, Dmangs-gtso, and the Tibetan literary magazine, Ljang-gzhon. From 1992-1996, he served as founding director of the Amnye Machen Institute in Dharamsala, India, and for two years taught Tibetan language and literature at Indiana University. He is author of two memoirs of the Cultural Revolution — Six Stars with a Crooked Neck (2001), and Dran tho rdo ring ma (2006)–as well as Heartbeat of a New Generation, now translated into three languages. He has also authored several articles, the most recent of which are published in issues of the Latse Library Newsletter.

Konchog Tseten


Konchog Tseten is originally from Rebgong (Qinghai, PRC) where he earned his language teaching certificate at the Rebgong Prefecture Teacher Training School. He later earned a BA at Northwest Normal University and a Master’s Degree in Tibetan medicine from Qinghai Tibetan Medical College. He taught Tibetan language for two years at the Gendun Chophel Middle School and has assisted researchers and anthropologists in collecting and interpreting field materials in Amdo (Tibet). Since 2015 he has taught Classical Tibetan language at Columbia University. He is currently a student of eastern medicine at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, NYC.

Eveline Washul


Eveline Washul is an Associate Research Scholar, Adjunct Professor, and the Director of the Modern Tibetan Studies program at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. She was a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and Lecturer in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. She received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology and Tibetan Studies from Indiana University in 2018. Her research methods combine ethnography with Tibetan historical sources from the 12th to 20th centuries. Her dissertation research studied how the particularities of Tibetan relationships to places shape their transition from rural to urban livelihoods in the late-socialist reform period in the People’s Republic of China. She is currently working on a book manuscript that examines the history of geographical regions in Tibet.

Gray Tuttle


Gray Tuttle studies the history of twentieth century Sino-Tibetan relations as well as Tibet’s relations with the China-based Manchu Qing Empire. The role of Tibetan Buddhism in these historical relations is central to all his research. In his Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China (Columbia UP, 2005), he examines the failure of nationalism and race-based ideology to maintain the Tibetan territory of the former Qing empire as integral to the Chinese nation-state. Instead, he argues, a new sense of pan-Asian Buddhism was critical to Chinese efforts to hold onto Tibetan regions (one quarter of China’s current territory). His current research project, “Amdo Tibet, Middle Ground between Lhasa and Beijing (1578-1865),” is a historical analysis of the economic and cultural relations between China and Tibet in the early modern periods (16th – 19th centuries) when the intellectual and economic centers of Tibet shifted to the east, to Amdo — a Tibetan cultural region the size of France in northwestern China. Deploying Richard White’s concept of the “Middle Ground” in the context of two mature civilizations — Tibetan and Chinese — encountering one another, this book will examine how this contact led to three dramatic areas of growth that defined early modern Tibet: 1) the advent of mass monastic education, 20 the bureaucratization of reincarnate lamas’ charisma and 3) the development of modern conceptions of geography that reshaped the way Tibet was imagined.