Military Culture in Tibet during the Ganden Phodrang Period (1642-1959): The Interaction between Tibetan and Other Traditions

Conference date and venue: 18-19 June 2018 at Wolfson College, Oxford

Convenors: Dr SG FitzHerbert (CNRS, CRCAO) and Dr Alice Travers (CNRS, CRCAO)

This conference, organised in the framework of the TibArmy project (https://tibarmy.hypotheses.org), aims to fill some of the lacunae in our present understanding of Tibetan military history. It hopes to examine the various military cultures that interacted on Tibetan territory during the Ganden Phodrang period, with a particular emphasis on the possible influences on the Ganden Phodrang army.

In addition to proposals based on Tibetan sources, we are looking for contributions using Mongol, Manchu, Chinese, Nepalese, Indian, British, Japanese and other sources that can shed light on the complexity of military culture in Tibet during this period.

We invite papers containing original research based on primary sources, and relating to at least one of the four following themes:

1) The presence of foreign troops in areas under the jurisdiction of the Ganden Phodrang government; the way they may have interacted with Tibetan military institutions; and the political repercussions this may have had. This would include instances of foreign troops fighting alongside Tibetan troops; foreign troops stationed as temporary or permanent occupying garrisons; and the military bodyguards of foreign representatives stationed in Tibet.
2) The perceived contrasts and differences between Tibetan military culture and that of others, as reflected in primary sources;
3) The possible influence of foreign military cultures on the Ganden Phodrang army in areas of (for example) training, tactics, equipment, organisation, rituals and so on.
4) The possible tensions that foreign military models may have created within Tibetan military institutions.

If you would like to participate, please submit an abstract of around 300 words to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by the 1st of March 2018 for review by the organising committee.
Please note that other specific topics relating to the Tibetan army during the Ganden Phodrang period (such as weaponry and wars fought) will be addressed in forthcoming workshops, panels, and conferences (see our website https://tibarmy.hypotheses.org/tibarmy-international-conferences).