Amdo Research Network

Fourth International Workshop of the Amdo Research Network: Amdo in Transition

Fourth International Workshop of the Amdo Research Network: Amdo in Transition

Fourth International Workshop of the Amdo Research Network: Amdo in Transition

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46 October 2023 at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague (part of Erasmus University Rotterdam), the Netherlands 

Convened by Drumo Kyi & Prof Andrew Fischer

In the con­text of the intense and com­pressed tran­si­tions that have been occur­ring in west­ern Chi­na over the last sev­er­al decades, Amdo holds par­tic­u­lar inter­est. 1 It bor­ders Han Chi­nese regions to the east, like the region of Kham, and has long been a site of cul­tur­al inter­ac­tion between Tibetans, Mon­go­lians, Monguors, Mus­lims, Han, and oth­er nation­al­i­ties (Ch. minzu). Hence, it stands as a test case for how Chi­nese devel­op­ment poli­cies play out in a dynam­ic, flu­id, and diverse bor­der­land’ set­ting that is less excep­tion­al than the cir­cum­stances of the Tibet Autonomous Region, but also very dis­tinct from the nei­di areas of Chi­na. Of par­tic­u­lar inter­est is how Amdowan Tibetans con­front and adapt to the con­text of rapid urban­i­sa­tion and oth­er aspects of rapid soci­etal trans­for­ma­tion, and work with­in the con­straints of var­i­ous lev­els of the state – nation­al, provin­cial, and local – to repro­duce and even rein­vent their cul­ture and soci­ety in the face of this trans­for­ma­tion. Indeed, Amdo has con­sis­tent­ly stood out, at least since the begin­ning of the reform peri­od, as being a dynam­ic region of social and cul­tur­al innovation.

Nor are these attrib­ut­es of tumult and inno­va­tion restrict­ed to the last forty years but have also been evi­dent through­out the 20th and even 19th cen­turies. As not­ed in pre­vi­ous ARN work­shops, pre-mod­ern Amdo was char­ac­ter­ized by high eth­nic diver­si­ty, unique cul­tur­al aspects, and its own major dialect of oral Tibetan. It was on the front line of the rise of fall of suc­ces­sive empires ema­nat­ing from mod­ern day Chi­na and wit­nessed par­tic­u­lar insta­bil­i­ty dur­ing var­i­ous his­tor­i­cal stages. With the estab­lish­ment of the PRC in 1949, the region was then a focal point for sev­er­al cam­paigns that marked the first decades of Maoist rule, although the region remained most­ly agrar­i­an until recent­ly. The trans­for­ma­tions unleashed since the 1990s have fun­da­men­tal­ly changed this agrar­i­an foun­da­tion of Amdo soci­ety, giv­en rapid urban­iza­tion, reset­tle­ments, school con­sol­i­da­tions, and oth­er state-dri­ven devel­op­ment strategies.

This call for papers seeks to encour­age research on these themes of tran­si­tion and trans­for­ma­tion, with a pref­er­ence to high­light the con­tem­po­rary con­text, but also wel­com­ing his­tor­i­cal research that explores the lega­cies of the vibrant tra­di­tion in Amdo of soci­etal inno­va­tion in the face of tumul­tuous change. Fol­low­ing the tra­di­tion of ARN meet­ings, this work­shop is designed to be delib­er­ate­ly inter­dis­ci­pli­nary, and open to schol­ars inside and out­side of acad­e­mia, although we would par­tic­u­lar­ly like to cul­ti­vate con­tem­po­rary social sci­ence research on the region giv­en that this per­spec­tive has been under­rep­re­sent­ed in schol­ar­ship on Amdo despite its cru­cial impor­tance to under­stand­ing the present set­ting. In addi­tion, the host­ing insti­tu­tion – the Insti­tute of Social Stud­ies – is a lead­ing Euro­pean research and teach­ing cen­tre in the inter­dis­ci­pli­nary social sci­ence field of inter­na­tion­al devel­op­ment studies.

The work­shop will be host­ed at the Insti­tute of Social Stud­ies in The Hague (part of Eras­mus Uni­ver­si­ty Rot­ter­dam) on 46 Octo­ber 2023.

A keynote lec­ture by Prof Tashi Rabgey is ten­ta­tive­ly con­firmed for 4 October.

Research Proposal Roundtable 

As in pre­vi­ous work­shops, the ARN will also host a round­table intend­ed for schol­ars work­ing on new projects to present an out­line of their pro­pos­al in a sup­port­ive envi­ron­ment. Each par­tic­i­pant will be giv­en a short amount of time to intro­duce their pro­pos­al before the floor is opened for dis­cus­sion. The aim is to cre­ate a space for projects which are not yet devel­oped enough for a full paper to be giv­en. Schol­ars in the ear­ly stages of their PhDs are par­tic­u­lar­ly encour­aged to apply.

Submission Instructions

Schol­ars inter­est­ed to par­tic­i­pate should sub­mit a 250 word abstract for con­sid­er­a­tion to, whether for paper pre­sen­ta­tions or for the research pro­pos­al round­table. Abstracts should be writ­ten in Eng­lish, sent in Word doc­u­ment for­mat, and include name, con­tact email and affil­i­a­tion. Abstracts should be sub­mit­ted to by 7 July 2023. Noti­fi­ca­tions of accep­tance will be sent out by 30 July.


For enquiries about the con­fer­ence and sub­mis­sion of abstracts, please con­tact

This con­fer­ence is spon­sored by the Polit­i­cal Ecol­o­gy Research Group of the Insti­tute of Social Stud­ies in The Hague. This includes a lim­it­ed bud­get to sup­port schol­ars from the Glob­al South, or PhD stu­dents more gen­er­al­ly. Those inter­est­ed to apply for this fund­ing should include a request and jus­ti­fi­ca­tion in their application.

Because the bud­get for the con­fer­ence is lim­it­ed, we request that par­tic­i­pants from the Glob­al North or with insti­tu­tion­al fund­ing to cov­er their costs of trav­el and accom­mo­da­tion (although the ISS can arrange afford­able group rates at near­by hotels). Lunch, din­ner and refresh­ments, how­ev­er, will be provided.

The Amdo Research Net­work was estab­lished to con­nect nation­al and inter­na­tion­al schol­ars and oth­er inter­est­ed par­ties who share com­mon research inter­ests in this region. Its aim is to serve as a plat­form for exchange and com­par­i­son of research project infor­ma­tion and pub­lished results, and to facil­i­tate eas­i­er estab­lish­ment of research col­lab­o­ra­tions. The inter­na­tion­al Amdo Research Net­work was found­ed at the Hum­boldt Uni­ver­si­ty of Berlin, with­in the Tibetan Stud­ies pro­gram of the Cen­tral-Asian Sem­i­nar in 2013.

Event reg­is­tra­tion closed.

Date And Time

04.10.2023 to 

Registration End Date


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