Transcultural Encounters in the Himalayan Borderlands
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Viehbeck, Markus (Ed.): Transcultural Encounters in the Himalayan Borderlands: Kalimpong as a “Contact Zone”, Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, 2017 (Heidelberg Studies on Transculturality, Vol. 3).

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Published 14.12.2017.


Markus Viehbeck (Ed.)

Transcultural Encounters in the Himalayan Borderlands

Kalimpong as a “Contact Zone”

Heidelberg Studies on Transculturality

This collaborative study investigates the hill station of Kalimpong and the larger Eastern Himalayan borderlands as a paradigmatic case of a “contact zone.” In the colonial and early post-colonial era, this space enabled a variety of encounters: between (British) India, Tibet, and China, but also Nepal and Bhutan; between Christian mission and Himalayan religions; between global flows of money and information and local markets and practices. Using a plethora of local and global historical sources, the contributing essays follow the pathways of people from diverse cultural backgrounds and investigate the new forms of knowledge and practice that resulted from their encounters and their shifting power relations. The volume provides not only a nuanced historiography of Kalimpong and its adjacent areas, but also a conceptual model for studying transcultural processes in borderland spaces and their colonial and post-colonial dynamics.

Markus Viehbeck is Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies at Heidelberg University, Germany. His research focuses on Tibetan intellectual history, Buddhist philosophy, and the history and religion of Himalayan borderlands. As part of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” he investigates Tibet’s relations with other cultural contexts, with a particular focus on the Eastern Himalayas.

Front Matter
Table of Contents
Markus Viehbeck
Introduction: Cultural History as a History of Encounters - A “Contact Perspective”
Part I: Christian Mission, Educational Institutions, and Identity Formation
Jayeeta Sharma
Kalimpong as a Transcultural Missionary Contact Zone
Andrew J. May
Our Miniature Heaven: Forming Identities at Dr Graham’s Homes
Charisma K. Lepcha
The Scottish Mission in Kalimpong and the Changing Dynamics of Lepcha Society
Part II: Public Spheres, Public Media, and the Creation of Public Knowledge
Clare Harris
Photography in the “Contact Zone”: Identifying Copresence and Agency in the Studios of Darjeeling
Anna Sawerthal, Davide Torri
Imagining the Wild Man: Yeti Sightings in Folktales and Newspapers of the Darjeeling and Kalimpong Hills
Prem Poddar, Lisa Lindkvist Zhang
Kalimpong: The China Connection
Part III: Things that Connect: Economies and Material Culture
Emma Martin
Object Lessons in Tibetan: The Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Charles Bell, and Connoisseurial Networks in Darjeeling and Kalimpong, 1910–12
Tina Harris
Wool, Toothbrushes, and Beards: Kalimpong and the “Golden Era” of Cross-Border Trade
Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa
Sacred Economies of Kalimpong: The Eastern Himalayas in the Global Production and Circulation of Buddhist Material Culture
Part IV: Scholars, Power, and Knowledge Production
Trine Brox, Miriam Koktvedgaard Zeitzen
Prince Peter’s Seven Years in Kalimpong: Collecting in a Contact Zone
Markus Viehbeck
“The First Tibetan at a Western University?” - Entanglements of Scholarship, Buddhism, and Power in Kalimpong and Beyond
Kalzang Dorjee Bhutia
Looking Beyond the Land of Rice: Kalimpong and Darjeeling as Modern Buddhist Contact Zones for Sikkimese Intellectual Communities
Prem Poddar, Cheralyn Mealor
Kalimpong as Fiction or Ethnography? Gorkha/Nepali Sensitivities in the Himalayas
List of Contributors