Annual Aris Lectures

The Annual Aris Lectures were created in 2015 to celebrate Michael and Anthony Aris and their contributions to Tibetan and Himalayan Studies. 

The lectures take place in Michaelmas Term. We are tremendously grateful to all those who have helped to make these lectures possible.

Written versions of the lectures can be downloaded below. Disclaimer: The contents of the lectures does not necessarily represent the opinions of the Tibetan and Himalayan Studies Centre or Wolfson College.

1. Inaugural Aris Lecture, 22 October 2015, 5:30pm, LWA:

Prof. Per Kvaerne (University of Oslo): Presentation of Michael and Anthony Aris

Prof. Janet Gyatso (Harvard University): Beyond Representation and Identity: Opening Ways for Tibetan Studies (original title: Tibetan Studies and its Possible Futures)

This lecture presents methodological reflections on the way scholars of Tibetan Studies approach their subject, and the possible pitfalls of reductionism, functionalism, and culturalism in the discourse on Tibetan civilization. It also introduces some aspects of Janet Gyatso's recent book Being Human in a Buddhist World: An Intellectual History of Medicine in Early Modern Tibet (2015).

2. Second Aris Lecture, 1 December 2016, 5:30pm, LWA:

Prof. Charles Ramble (EPHE, Paris): Social History and Vampires: the Dark Continents of Tibetan Studies.

A well-known theme in Tibetan literature depicts the land as an area of benighted savagery, peopled by red-faced flesh-eating demons and an even larger population of malign autochthonous powers; the civilising power of Buddhism tamed the humans and their gods, and transformed the land into a fitting receptacle for the Good Law. Almost a thousand years after it was formulated, this story not only continues to provide a prism through which Tibetans view their own history, but it also influences research on Tibet in subtle but significant ways. This talk will support the case for looking beyond the dominant narrative to discern elements that might form the composition of a very different picture.

Prof. Charles Ramble is Directeur d'études at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Sorbonne). He was the first to teach Tibetan and Himalayan Studies at the University of Oxford from 2000 until 2010.

3. Third Aris Lecture, 16 November 2017, 6:00pm, LWA:

Prof. em. Per Kvaerne (University of Oslo): "Teach me how to be Gesar's Daughter" - Voices of young Tibetan intellectuals in the diaspora.

The young generation of the Tibetan diaspora in India has a high level of education, with many attending universities or colleges. At the same time, well-educated young Tibetans face a number of existential as well as practical difficulties linked to their life as stateless refugees. While monastic communities in exile have received considerable attention from scholars, little focus has been placed on young lay Tibetans in recent years, in spite of a situation of rapid social change and mounting expectations – as well as frustrations – in this section of the Tibetan diaspora community in India. This year’s Aris Lecture will explore some of these issues as expressed by a young Tibetan poet, Tenzin Kesang, through a selection of her recent poems.

4. Fourth Aris Lecture, 15 November 2018, 6:15pm, LWA:

Dr Sam van Schaik (British Library): Magic, Healing, and Ethics in Tibetan Buddhism

Books of spells are a constant but little studied aspect of Tibetan Buddhism. Used by lay people as well as monks and nuns, they contain a variety of rituals covering divination, healing and protection, making rain and stopping hail, and summoning and exorcising spirits and demons. Some books of spells contain other kinds of spells as well, such as to make someone fall in love, or to gain powers of clairvoyance, invisibility, and finding hidden treasure. Some, but not all books of spells contain aggressive spells -- what we commonly call 'black magic'. This talk looks at the role of books of spells in Tibetan Buddhism, and how the use of magic fits within the Buddhist ethical framework.

More Information
Downloads
Presentation of Anthony and Michael Aris – Per KvaerneDownload
Beyond Representation and Identity: Opening Ways for Tibetan Studies – Janet GyatsoDownload
Social History and Vampires - Charles RambleDownload
Teach me how to be Gesar's daughter - Per KvaerneDownload
News
Events

The latest from Wolfson College

19 November 2018
Romulus Launching Party

This Friday, Wolfson's literary magazine Romulus will launch their new call for writers.

19 November 2018
Academics at Risk Giving Day

We are delighted to announce that we have raised over half of our target for our Cara Campaign.

Wolfson College Trees
16 November 2018
Walter Sawyer admitted to the honorary degree of Master of Arts

Supernumerary Fellow, Walter Sawyer receives honorary Master of Arts from the University. 

Our upcoming events

General Meetings
21 - 21
Nov Nov
General Meeting
Wednesday 21 November - 5:30pm to 6:30pm

General Meeting occurs at least twice in each term and is an opportunity for all College and Common Room members to discuss any College business.

Parties and Dinners
21 - 21
Nov Nov
Academics at Risk Giving Day
Wednesday 21 November - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

We hope you can join us for an informal evening of drinks, canapés and speeches from Tim Hitchens, Stephen Wordsworth from CARA and some special guests. The event will take place at 19.00 in the Wolfson Café.

Art exhibition
22 - 22
Nov Nov
Snow Land Art Exhibition
Thursday 22 November - 11:30am to 6:30pm

The exhibition will display incredible artistic works of young Tibetan artists from Snow Land Art School in Tibet. The event will be started with a brief introduction by Ngawa Choepjor, who is the co-founder of Snow Land Art School in Tibet.