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).

journal cover smallIssue 6.2 of the Journal of Chinese Military History has recently been published. It includes the following articles:

Wicky W. K. Tse, "Cutting the Enemy's Line of Supply: The Rise of the Tactic and Its Use in Early Chinese Warfare," 131-156.

Adam Chang, "Reappraising Zhang Zhidong: Forgotten Continuities During China's Self-Strengthening, 1884-1901," 157-192.

Teddy Y. H. Sim, "Portuguese Defence Activities at Macau During the Boxer Uprising," 193-218.

It also contains book reviews by Daqing Yang, Peter Lorge, and Jonathan Karam Skaff.

CMHS members may access the journal online by going to the society's Web site (www.cmhsociety.org), logging in there with their previously assigned CMHS username and password, and clicking the journal link in the Members Area. Please note that there is no need to log in again at the Brill Online site. If you have not yet been assigned a username and password or encounter any other problem, please contact David Graff (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for assistance.

Looking for 2-3 Additional Panelists

Proposed Panel Title: Framing Chaos and Devastation in Chinese History

Working Panel Abstract
As the country with perhaps the world’s most extensive and richly documented military history, China witnessed the early emergence of specific vocabularies and discourses pertaining to the devastation, trauma, and chaos caused by warfare. Such discourses were deployed over the centuries to provide a common frame of reference for rulers and policy makers and to detail the evils of warfare and the lapse of governing institution. While certain tropes became recurrent and were probably more symbolic than anything, particularly vivid and frank depictions of warfare, famine, epidemics and the like also emerge in a wide range of materials from the standard dynastic histories to private diaries and memoirs. This panel seeks to compare and contrast accounts of chaos and devastation associated with war throughout Chinese history.

Panelists & Paper Titles
“The Rhetoric of Catastrophe in the Ming-Qing Transition” by Kenneth M. Swope (University of Southern Mississippi)

If you are interested in joining this panel, contact Ken Swope at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SocietyforMilitaryHistoryBanner chop The Chinese Military History Society will hold its 2018 conference in Louisville, Kentucky on Thursday, April 5. The theme of this year's conference is “War, Peace, and the Chinese Landscape,” focusing on how the geography, environment, and spaces of conflict have influenced both the waging of war and the maintenance or restoration of peace. Papers may address any historical period from antiquity to the present. As usual, papers are not required to address the conference theme; proposals on other subjects related to the military history of China and other East Asian countries will be considered as well.

The time and place of the 2018 CMHS conference were chosen to facilitate participants' attendance at the 2018 annual meeting of the Society for Military History (SMH), which will be held at the Galt House Hotel from April 5 to April 8 (with panels beginning on Friday, April 6). Although there is no registration fee for the CMHS meeting, attendance at the SMH conference requires separate registration and payment of applicable fees. For more information about the 2018 SMH conference, please visit .

CMHS conference attendees will be eligible for the SMH rate for hotel rooms provided they register to attend the SMH as well.

If you are interested in presenting at the CMHS conference, please send your name and contact information, a paper abstract of no more than 250 words, and a brief C.V. to David Graff by November 15, 2017.

David A. Graff
Department of History
117 Calvin Hall
802 Mid-Campus Drive South
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-1002
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: 785-532-6730

Interested non-presenters, especially scholars attending the SMH conference, are also welcome to attend the CMHS conference.