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Tibetan Program & Curriculum

Tibetan Studies Emphasis

MESAS offers courses related to Tibetan Studies through its major track in South Asian Studies. In addition to Tibetan language courses, students may enroll in a variety of courses taught by faculty in the Department of Religion and MESAS. Primary faculty in this area of study include Tara Doyle, Sara McClintock, Lobsang Negi, and Tsepak Rigzin.

Emory College Education Abroad coordinates related opportunities for study in Dharamsala, India. Additional programming is provided through the Emory-Tibet Partnership.

Tibetan Curriculum

Tibetan Language Courses

TBT 101. Elementary Tibetan I

This course is designed to introduce students to the Tibetan language in its written and spoken forms. Students will learn to read and write the most common printed Tibetan script (the dbu can script), and to spell and pronounce Tibetan words accurately. The emphasis in this class will be on developing basic oral communication skills at the elementary level. To achieve this aim, we will restrict the use of English in the classroom, especially as the semester progresses.

TBT 102. Elementary Tibetan II

This course is a continuation of Tibetan 101 and will consolidate the foundations already built in Tibetan 101. Its objective is to develop skills in oral comprehension, speaking, reading and writing and to establish a more solid base for advanced language learning. The class will focus more on developing skills in Tibetan speech. To achieve this aim, we will restrict the use of English in the classroom.

MESAS 240. Conversational Tibetan

The goal of this course is to provide conversational skills developed around selected daily life themes of practical usage and events such as greetings, visits, travels, hospitality, shopping, social and cultural events. The common Tibetan dialect (sPyi-sKad) is the most universally understood among Tibetan and ethnic Tibetan community belt in its vernacular form. This course is offered for the benefit of students who wish to improve their spoken/colloquial Tibetan language skills.There will be no writing requirements. Students who have passed at Tibetan 101 are qualified to register. However, students who have no previous coursework in Tibetan at Emory may also be taken at the discretion of the instructor.

Related Courses in Tibetan History and Culture (taught in English)

MESAS 338. Tibetan History

This course is intended to present an overview of the history of Tibet, the roof of the world romantically known to the western world as Shangri-la. Students will unravel questions like: What is Tibet? Who are the Tibetan peoples and what is their history related to ancient, medieval and modern times? What is Tibet's relationship with neighboring countries – Mongols, Manchus, British India, Russia and China over the centuries and the current diaspora situation? The course offers different views and interpretations of important events in Tibet's history, enabling students to develop open-ended perspectives.

MESAS 330. Tibetan Culture

This course will primarily concentrate on general understanding of Tibetan culture and tradition, beginning with the introduction to the philosophy, principles and beliefs governing Tibetan culture. Among others, topics will include: myths and mysticism; monastic and lay life; education and livelihood; ceremonies and festivals; and arts and symbolism. The course will culminate in a discussion of issues and challenges related to the preservation of Tibetan culture today, in the midst of Tibetan people's assimilation in the outside world. The lectures will be supplemented by documentaries and live interactions with scholars and monks, as well as locally arranged site tours.

Placement Information

Students with prior knowledge of Tibetan should contact the Language Coordinator, Prof. Tsepak Rigzin, for more information.