Historicizing Tibetan genealogies
Workshop with Prof. Per Sørensen

  • Time: Monday-Thursday, 19–22 March 2018
  • Venue: Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, Hollandstraße 11-13, 2nd floor seminar room (2.25), 1020 Vienna
  • Organisation: Reinier Langelaar


The Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia is pleased to announce a first international workshop on Tibetan genealogical writings, in co-operation with prof. Per Sørensen (Leipzig University). This seminar will bring together Tibetologist scholars with an active interest in genealogical materials for an intensive four-day stretch of papers, primary source readings, and discussion of pertinent theoretical matters. Topics of consideration will accordingly range from grammatical and conceptual to cultural, ethnographic and historical aspects of textual interpretation. Central to the endeavor will be the question how, and to what degree, scholarship can historicize these, often admittedly fanciful, materials. Can they be effectively employed to glean information on history, historical kinship patterns and social structures, or should they instead largely be treated as literary and politicized textual surfaces onto which idealized patterns of relatedness were projected, and in which histories were molded to fit specific social agendas?

Introductory papers by prof. Sørensen and Langelaar will lay some common theoretical groundwork, while subsequent sessions shall combine primary source readings with discussions of theoretical issues, as informed by pre-circulated literature. Source reading will largely center on the renowned yet enigmatic Rlangs-kyi-po-ti-bse-ru, a 14th-15th ct. ruling house descent charter that is currently being studied and translated by the workshop organizer. This work's motley social, cultural, and political backgrounds offers fertile ground for discussion, and perhaps a helpful springboard to better assess other Tibetan genealogical documents as well.

If you wish to participate, please register with an email to reinier.langelaar(at)oeaw.ac.at by 5 March 2018.

The poster of the workshop is available at this link.


  • Cecile Ducher
  • Guntram Hazod
  • Hou Haoran (cancelled)
  • Jonathan Samuels
  • Marta Sernesi
  • Per Sørensen
  • Roberto Vitali