This course offers participants a practical guide for documenting, preserving, and archiving the traditions and cultural practices of communities on the Tibetan Plateau. Cultural researchers and filmmakers will share their methods for conducting fieldwork and recording interviews with family members and community figures, and preserving, cataloging, and archiving these materials for future generations.
By documenting culture, we discover and learn not only the past, but also the vast reservoir of living culture—the foodways, celebrations, crafts, music, occupations, and skills—that are part of daily experience. These materials powerfully express community life and values. They anchor us in a larger whole, connect us to the past, ground us firmly in the present, and give us an undeniable sense of identity, belonging, and purpose.
This course is conducted entirely in Tibetan with the Tibetan translation of the Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interview Guide as its text. It will prepare researchers to add to the relatively limited number of recorded and achieved contemporary Tibetan oral histories, which create a more holistic image of life on the Tibetan Plateau and beyond.