Indigenous Innovations: Nomadic Agency, State Intervention, and Community-Based Research in Amdo Tibet, China


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships




This research explores how Tibetan nomads skillfully assert their cultural, political, and religious identity to thrive amidst structural changes of state-making and development as modernization. Through ethnographic research, “Indigenous Innovations” demonstrates Tibetan nomads’ self-reliance and innovative efforts to not only continue their cultural, linguistic, and religious practices but also actively recreate and promote them in the new socioeconomic structures of China. By centering community-based innovative practices such as educational centers, entrepreneurship, scholarship, and new religious practices, this research builds on Tibetan nomads’ reliance on their cultural materials, relationships, knowledge, and skills to remake and reorganize their lives in the current world that are profoundly strategic, insightful, and innovative.