UNLEARNING TIBET Part One: A Weekly Online Seminar for Tibetans

Here at High Peaks Pure Earth we’re excited to announce Part One of a new weekly online seminar for Tibetans called UNLEARNING TIBET which will start on September 23rd, 2020. We hope that many Tibetans will register and actively participate in the weekly sessions. Please see below for more details, including on how to register.

Weekly online seminar beginning Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

Instructor: Riga Shakya, High Peaks Pure Earth, selected guest speakers.

This 10-session online seminar is an innovative, decolonial adaption of a survey course in Tibetan history designed for heritage Tibetan students. Tibetan heritage students rarely have access to classes on Tibetan culture and history offered at universities around the world. This seminar is committed to breaking down the walls of the ivory tower and making knowledge accessible to heritage learners.

The seminar will privilege Tibetan language primary materials, Tibetan ways of thinking and the work of Tibetan scholars and writers. Throughout the seminar we will subject broad categories such as Tibet, Buddhism, nation, state, empire, colonialism, the modern, the secular and revolution to rigorous interrogation.

Students will be introduced to major topics, including but not limited to: early Tibet and Dunhuang texts, Tibetan Buddhist history and material culture, literature and poetics, early modern state building, imperialism and colonialism, nationalism, modern literature, cinema and linguistic diversity.

Part 1, running from September 23rd to November 25th, will cover the Tibetan imperial period to the late 19th century.

Part 2, projected for early 2021, will cover the 20th century to the present day.

The seminar session will run on Wednesdays: 1-3pm EST / 6-8pm BST.


Who is the main instructor?

Riga Shakya is finishing his Ph.D in Sino-Tibetan History at Columbia University. See more here.

The course will also have guest speakers, their bios will be made available upon their confirmation and in advance of their sessions.

How is this seminar related to High Peaks Pure Earth?

High Peaks Pure Earth is hosting Unlearning Tibet. Riga Shakya is a regular translator and contributor to the website. High Peaks Pure Earth is a translations website that centres Tibetan voices and similarly the seminar will privilege Tibetan language primary materials, Tibetan ways of thinking and the work of Tibetan scholars and writers, many of whom have featured on the site.

Where will the class be held?

The class will be run through Google Meet and Google Classroom. Materials will be made available via the Google Classroom.

Session recordings will be made available only for registered students and are not to be distributed.

What will the seminar format be and what will it entail?

The seminar format will consist of 40 minutes to an hour of lecture, and an hour of discussion. This seminar is designed as an introduction to the academic study of Tibet. No prior academic background is required.

This course will be reading intensive. There will be two sets of readings for each weekly session. The first set will consist of historical background through academic readings and primary sources. The second set will be 1 shorter academic work by a Tibetan studies scholar paired with a non-area specific critical theory.

What language will the seminar be in?

The language of instruction is in English. Translations will be offered for Tibetan language materials and for non-Anglophone guest speakers.

I am a graduate student already taking Tibet related classes, can I still register?

Yes, but preference will be given to those who have not already taken Tibet related courses at the graduate level.

Is there a fee and how can I register?

Please register by filling out the online form below. To pay the registration fee of USD 70, please transfer it to hp****@hi****************.com via PayPal. It should arrive with us no later than September 21 otherwise your registration will not be considered complete.

Please note we will be capping the class size after a certain point so registration is strictly first come first served. The registration form will be taken offline once the class is full and we will then operate a waiting list system. If you register but have to drop out, no refunds will be issued.

Why is there a registration fee, shouldn’t this course be free?

A registration fee of USD 70 will be required for all ten sessions of Part One. The fee is to ensure full attendance and commitment to the course. We want to avoid having a lot of sign ups and then consequently having a lot of people simply not show up or drop out. Please only join the course if you are willing to do the work, attend all ten sessions and be actively involved in the class.

Needs-based fee waivers will be awarded by High Peaks Pure Earth. (Contact us hp****@hi****************.com with the subject UNLEARNING TIBET)

I’ve registered and paid the fee, what’s next?

Once you have registered and paid the fee, you will receive an invitation to the Google Classroom. All further communication from us will take place via the Classroom. Please accept the invitation and enter the Classroom, we will place the materials for the first session there in the days leading up to the first Class.

Can I join Unlearning Tibet Part Two later without joining Part One?

Registration for Part Two will open at the end of this year and will favour those who were already in Part One. However, if there are available spaces, newcomers will be able to join Part Two on a first come first served basis. The registration fee will again be USD 70.

I do not identify as Tibetan. Can I still register?

If numbers allow. Write to us hp****@hi****************.com with the subject UNLEARNING TIBET introducing yourself and why you want to join the seminar.


If you prefer to register using Google Forms, please follow this link: https://forms.gle/9HAYuyXcnHx86ZRr7

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