To view this PAPER PRESENTATION, search for the session title in the Browse by Titlelisting. (See the session title located immediately below ["In Session:"])
In Session: Why Traditional Medicine? Assessing Reasons and Efforts to Reclaim Traditional Medicines in South Asia
3: Lineage, Renaissance, and Industry: Contemporary Tibetan Medicine in Eastern Tibet
Monday, March 22, 2021
3:00pm – 4:30pm EDT
University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
This paper introduces the contemporary development of clinical and pharmacological practices in Tibetan medicine in eastern Tibet, particularly across Qinghai and Gansu provinces in the Tibetan region of Amdo. Analysis of regional contemporary lineages as counterparts to their historical antecedents demonstrates the emerging Tibetan medical renaissance in the region characterized by both modern innovations as well as traditional rigor in practice and training. Despite two decades of a rising commodification of health care in Tibet and industrialization of Tibetan pharmaceuticals threatening to untether Tibetan medicine from its attendant diagnostics, interpretations and treatments in a physician-guided professional setting, we see a moral economy develop that reaches deep into tradition. This paper analyzes how notions of both tradition and modernity are shaping and how Sowa Rigpa, the “Science of Healing” in Tibetan tradition, participates in international corporate spheres, national political discourse, public consumer and mainstream medical contexts, as well as local integrated physician-patient relationships tied to regional lineages.