Robert Barnett (Director of the Modern Tibetan Studies Program, Columbia University)
How much of a city can be read by an outsider? And what are the consequences of foreigners’ misreadings? In this talk, Robert Barnett looks at ways in which the history of Lhasa, the former capital of Tibet, has been shaped by foreign responses to its architectural fabric, whether it be the palaces or the sewers, its monasteries or its cinemas. Using the example of a former aristocratic mansion in the former city centre, he asks if the story of its buildings can offer a kind of dialogue with local voices, and why the visitors to the city seem driven to bury that possibility by trying to rebuild it.
Professor Barnett founded and directs the Modern Tibetan Studies Program at Columbia, the first Western teaching program in this field. He has edited or written a number of books on modern Tibet including, Lhasa: Streets with Memories (2006). Before joining Columbia in 1998, Professor Barnett worked as a journalist and researcher in the United Kingdom, specializing in Tibetan issues for the BBC, the South China Morning Post, VOA, the Guardian, the Independent and other media outlets. From 1987-1998, Dr. Barnett was director of an independent Tibet news and research project in London.
Open to all. No registration required. Part of the City Seminar series.
For more information about the group, please visit the link on the right hand side of this page.