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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies

Amdo Research Network (ARN)

During the past two decades, the number of researchers working in Amdo has gradually increased, yet information about individual or group projects and networking between researchers has remained underdeveloped. Thus, in 2013 the Amdo Research Network was funded at the Humboldt University of Berlin, within the Tibetan Studies program of the Central-Asian Seminar, which has a strong focus on the Amdo area in terms of formal language training, teaching and affiliated researchers.

What is Amdo? 

Amdo, one of the three main Tibetan regions, comprises the northeastern sector of the Tibetan Plateau. The geographical definition of Amdo is currently complicated by the use of the Chinese administrative divisions, which do not follow old regional or political sentiments. Today, Amdo is concentrated in Qinghai Province, but also includes parts of Gansu and Sichuan Provinces. At the same time, part of Qinghai, i.e., Yushu, judging by its linguistic and cultural affinity, is located in Kham. In yet other areas, e.g. Golok, the population does not identify with any of the three above mentioned regions. For the purposes of the Amdo Research Network (ARN), we have decided to also include these ambivalent cases, without forcing any conclusive identifcation on them. We have also included Yushu, which, through its current position in Qinghai, shares with the rest of Amdo not only the same provincial borders, but also its daily fate. 

‘Amdo’ is a Tibetan word and its use provides us with an entry point into a region which is largely informed by Tibetan Studies. However, the choice of this name should not suggest that we define the region as a purely Tibetan space. The limitations of the Amdo Research Network are rather geographic than ethnic and, it should also include research into other population groups, e.g. the Mongols, Huis, Salars, Hans or Monguors, as well as their interaction with the Tibetans and their influence on each other. Consequently, the ARN's research focus is geographical rather than ethnic in nature (see Sulek and Ptackova, Mapping Amdo: People and Places in an Ongoing Transition, in Mapping Amdo: Dynamics of Change, 2017).


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copyright Hannibal Taubes (Mapping Amdo: Dynamics of Change, 2017)


The Aim(s) of ARN 

The Amdo Research Network preliminary aims to bring Amdo to the forefront of the academic interest and show it as a region worth studying in itself. Secondly, ARN aims to connect and strengthen the links between national and international scholars and other interested parties who share common research interests in this region. The Amdo Research Network seeks to increase the visibility of scholarship about Amdo, and to serve as a platform for exchange and comparison of research project information and published results, and to facilitate easier establishment of research collaborations.  The Amdo Research Network gives its members the possibility to stay in contact, work together, start new projects and share experiences. Collaboration during projects and reflection on our member’s activities are one of the key issues within the network.  The ARN members have as well the possibility to share and exchange Amdo relevant information through the ARN mailing list or the ARN facebook site or to display their contact information and research interests at the ARN website. The International Workshops of the Amdo Research Network create a venue for collaboration and exchange for graduate students, early career researchers and established scholars. The ARN workshops aim at bringing together researchers from different disciplines and aim at offering its members the possibility to meet, exchange experiences and discuss their research findings. As a written interdisciplinary platform of the ARN offering to publish research findings of the ARN members serves the edition Mapping Amdo.