This volume presents a variety of data and reflection on the history of Tibetan women. Drawing on textual and archival study, ethnographic research, the history of religions, and feminist theory, the contributors explore the struggles and accomplishments of women from Tibet, including queens from the imperial period, "yoginis" and religious teachers of mediaeval times, Buddhist nuns, oracles, political workers, doctors and artists. The work seeks to resist both romanticisation and excessive criticism of the position and status of women in Tibetan society, exploring instead the complex relations between religion, culture, and social and political reality throughout history and the secular and religious facets of women's lives. The contributors explore the roots of androcentrism and misogyny, the means by which women have handled such biases, and the wider implications of gender differentiation in the Tibetan world.
Janet Gyatso is Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies at the Divinity School, Harvard University. Her books include Apparitions of the Self: The Secret Autobiographies of a Tibetan Visionary (Princeton University Press, 1998). Hanna Havnevik is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Culture Studies, University of Oslo. She is the author of Tibetan Buddhist Nuns: History, Cultural Norms and Social Reality (Universitetsforlaget, 1989).
Contents: I: Women in Traditional Tibet Helga Uebach, Ladies of the Tibetan Empire (Seventh to Ninth Centuries); Dan Martin, The Woman Illusion? Research into the Lives of Spiritually Accomplished Women Leaders of the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries; Kurtis R. Schaeffer, The Autobiography of a Medieval Hermitess:Orgyen Chokyi (1675-1729) II: Women in Tibet Today Hildegard Diemberger, Female Oracles in Modern Tibet; Tashi Tsering, Outstanding Women in Tibetan Medicine - Isabelle Henrion-Dourcy, Women in the Performing Arts: Portraits of Six Singers; Charlene E. Makley, The Body of a Nun: Nunhood and Gender in Contemporary Amdo; Robert Barnett, Women and Politics in Tibet Today.