The presentation will draw from the speaker’s MPhil dissertation on Tibet and the politics of cultural representation in China, which delves into a least studied subject of how the state and society in China interface through the medium of art/visual representation, particularly with respect to Tibet. The strength of the dissertation was in its attempt to critically analyse two aspects of visual representation vis a vis Tibet - one by the Chinese state and another by the Tibetan intellectual artists themselves and in addition, how they intersect at various points through the medium of Chinese artists.
The value of the dissertation is manifold given its problematisation of the subject through a number of conceptual paradigms. Althusser’s distinction between ‘State Apparatus’ and ‘Ideological Apparatus’ helps to lay out the argument about how the Maoist state sought to use ‘Socialist Realist Art’ to distinguish between Old and New Tibet. This is supplemented with reference to the works of Boris Gray and Claire Harris on socialist content, Foucault’s exposition on discourse and knowledge creation, Edward Said’s ‘orientalism’, Gladney’s ‘oriental orientalism’ and Gramscian concept of ‘organic intellectual’.
This presentation attempts to see how contemporary Tibetan artists act as an “organic intellectual” in countering hegemonic Shangri-la image of Tibet and how they reflect on the contemporary reality of Tibet.
About the Speaker
Gendun Gyatso completed his early education from Tibetan Children’s Village School in Dharamshala. He is a doctoral student at the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He completed his MPhil from the same Centre in 2016 and the topic of his dissertation was Cultural Representation of Tibet in PRC (1950-2008). He has presented his work in national and international conferences.
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