Inner/Central Asia + Tibetan/Himalayan


In the 2013-2014 academic year, Dissertation Reviews will continue to post reviews of recently filed dissertations, up-to-date reports from various archives and libraries, as well as “Talking Shop” pieces on Inner Asia, Central Asia, Tibet and the Himalayan region via its “Inner and Central Asian Studies” and “Tibetan and Himalayan Studies” series. If you are interested in Inner and Central Asia, be sure to look at our “Russian Studies” series; and if you are interested in Tibet and the Himalayas, do not forget about our China series! If you wish to participate in Dissertation Reviews, please click here to become a reviewer or to have your dissertation reviewed. You may also contact our Inner and Central Asian Studies Co-Editors, Niccolò Pianciola and Loretta Kim, or our Tibetan and Himalayan Studies Co-Editors, Nicole Willock and Nancy Lin.


A quick taste of what’s to come

Dominique Townsend, “Materials of Buddhist Culture: Aesthetics and Cosmopolitanism at Mindroling Monastery” (Columbia University 2012), reviewed by Ariana Maki (University of Colorado Boulder)

Brenton Sullivan, “The Mother of All Monasteries: Gönlung Jampa Ling and the Rise of Mega Monasteries in Northeastern Tibet” (University of Virginia 2013), reviewed by Ulan Wu Lan (Columbia University)

Michelle Kleisath, “Tibet Beyond Black and White: Racial Formations and Transnational Collusions” (University of Washington 2013), reviewed by Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa (University of Alabama)

Alfrid Bustanov, “Settling the Past: Soviet Oriental Projects in Leningrad and Alma-Ata” (University of Amsterdam 2013), reviewed by James Pickett (Princeton University)

Edward M. Callahan, “To Rule the Roof of the World: Power and Patronage in Afghan Kyrgyz Society” (Boston University 2013), reviewed by Kenneth Bauer (Dartmouth College)

Xavier Hallez, “Communisme national et mouvement révolutionnaire en Orient: parcours croisé de trois leaders soviétiques orientaux (Mirsaid Sultan-Galiev, Turar Ryskulov et Elbekdorž Rinčino) dans la construction d’un nouvel espace géopolitique 1917-1926” (École des hautes études en sciences sociales 2012), reviewed by Xavier Le Torrivellec (Independent scholar)

Robert Kindler, “Die Nomaden und der Hunger. Sesshaftmachung und Herrschaftsdurchsetzung in Kasachstan, 1920-1945” (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 2012), reviewed by Moritz Deutschmann (European University Institute)

Anaita Khudonazar, “Generational Politics: Narratives of Power in Central Asia’s Visual Culture” (University of California, Los Angeles 2011), reviewed by Cloé Drieu (Centre national de la recherche scientifique)

And many others…


Meet the editors

Niccolo picNiccolò Pianciola (Inner and Central Asian Studies) is Associate Professor of History at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. His first book, Stalinismo di frontiera. Colonizzazione agricola, sterminio dei nomadi e costruzione statale in Asia Centrale (1905-1936) (Rome, 2009), focused on the interactions between the state, pastoralists and peasants in the Kazakh steppe during the period of crisis and collapse of the Tsarist Empire and the building of the new Soviet state, until the great famine in Kazakhstan of 1931-33. His second book (co-authored with Antonio Ferrara) is L’età delle migrazioni forzate. Esodi e deportazioni in Europa (1853-1953) (Bologna, 2012), an interpretative survey of the history of forced migrations in East-Central Europe, Anatolia and the Tsarist Empire/Soviet Union from the Crimean War to Stalin’s death. [Website here]


Loretta-KimLoretta Kim (Inner and Central Asian Studies) is Assistant Professor History at Hong Kong Baptist University. She holds AM and PhD degrees from Harvard University, and started her academic career at the State University of New York at Albany. Her primary research interests are Qing Dynasty frontier administration, the history of Northeastern China from 1600 to the present, and ethnicity in contemporary China. In addition to these topics, she has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on 20th century Chinese history in film, Europeans in East Asia during the 15th through 19th centuries, and comparative cases of imperialism and colonialism in Asia. [Website here]


Nicole WillockNicole Willock (Tibetan and Himalayan Studies) is Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Denver. Her primary research interests are in Sino-Tibetan relations, and the dynamic processes of state-driven secularization and Tibetan ethno-religious identity in twentieth-century China. She is currently revising the manuscript, “A Tibetan Buddhist Polymath in Modern China,” for publication and is in the final stages of writing a bilingual primer on Tibetan poetics co-written with Indiana University lecturer Gedun Rabsal. Willock also began a new research project underwritten by a 2012 Columbia University Libraries Research Award on “Secularism and ‘Superstition’ in Tibetan Intellectual History.” [Website here]


Nancy LinNancy Lin (Tibetan and Himalayan Studies) is Assistant Professor of Buddhist Traditions of South Asia in the Department of Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University. Her research interests are in the cultural history of Tibetan Buddhism during the early modern period, and include Buddhist hagiographical literature and art, the innovative interpretation of canonical tradition amidst social change, and Tibetan engagement with other courtly cultures of South and East Asia. Her current book project examines how Tibetan monastic and courtly culture intersected during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, especially through productions of the Wish-Fulfilling Vine (Skt. Avadanakalpalata, Tb. Dpag bsam ‘khri shing), Ksemendra’s Sanskrit anthology of Buddhist narratives. [Website here]


Image: Mediaeval trade routes in Central Asia. From the “Historical Atlas” by William R. Shepherd, New York, Henry Holt and Company, 1923 (2nd edition). Wikimedia Commons.

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