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Mao in Tibetan Disguise: History, Excessive Truths, and Ethnographic Theory

Thu, Mar 22, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Woodburn Hall Room 009
Tibetan Studies Student Association Lecture Series Presents
Carole McGranahan
Associate Professor of Anthropology and History
University of Colorado, Boulder

Mao in Tibetan Disguise:
History, Excessive Truths, and Ethnographic Theory

Woodburn Hall
  Room 009
Thursday, March 22, 2012
6 – 8 p.m.

How do Tibetans in exile discuss Mao Zedong? What histories of Mao can Tibetans outside of Tibet tell that those inside cannot? In this talk, Dr. Carole McGranahan presents one such history, a renegade story that disguises Mao in Tibetan dress as part of his journeys on the Long March in the 1930s. Beyond assessing its historical veracity, what matters are the social truths, cultural logics, and political claims embedded in this history. Set in historical dialogue with "ethnographic theory" as proposed by anthropologists Giovanni da Col and David Graeber in the new journal HAU, Dr. McGranahan asks what insights Tibetan exile refigurings of Mao offer into the ways Tibetans have collectively tried to come to terms with histories of loss and violence associated with Mao, the Chinese Communist Party, and the incorporation of Tibet into the People's Republic of China.

Carole McGranahan is Associate Professor of Anthropology and History at the University of Colorado. She conducts research on issues of history and memory, the politics of community, gender, war, and citizenship in Tibetan communities in exile, primarily in India and Nepal, but also increasingly in New York City and Toronto. She is the author of numerous articles and the book Arrested Histories: Tibet, the CIA, and Memories of a Forgotten War (Duke University Press, 2010).