International Seminar of Young Tibetologists

4th ISYT Conference report

Fourth ISYT Conference

Meeting report


Franz Xaver Erhard






The Fourth International Seminar of Young Tibetologists was convened by Franz Xaver Erhard in Leipzig, September 7–12, 2015. The participation in our conferences has risen from 29 in 2007 to 50 in 2009, and 73 in 2012. In total, 106 scholars from all over the globe participated in the 4th ISYT, consisting of 70 podium presenters, 9 poster presenters, and 27 observers, including Professors Per K. Sørensen and Eli Franco of the Institute for Indology and Central Asian Studies, University of Leipzig. The growing interest in ISYT shows how important the Seminar is to young researchers.

Candidates were selected from 232 applications by means of a thorough double-blind selection process, and the worth of this procedure was borne out by the quality of the presentations given over the 6-day event. The conference brought a number of disciplines to bear on Tibetan and Himalayan areas, from anthropology to art history, philology to development studies. Topics included Tibetan linguistics, Mongol, Manchu and Qing history, issues surrounding modern pastoralism, domestic practices and rituals, and diaspora Tibetan identity politics.

The seminar provided doctoral students and early career academics with an arena for getting together to discuss their research and network with their peers. It also allowed scholars from the West and the East to meet on equal terms and enjoy time together socially. Finally, it enabled a number of students and early career academics from all over the world, but especially from Tibet and the areas bordering it, their first opportunity to present in an international setting and at a large-scale conference. We hope that this was thus a fitting way to honour Prof. Sørensen, who in 2016 retires after a long and distinguished perod of service at the University of Leipzig.

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