Himalayan Passages - Preface

Tibetan and Newar Studies in Honor of Hubert Decleer

“The best new scholarship on the Himalayas.”
—Kurtis R. Schaeffer, chair, Religious Studies Department, University of Virginia

 

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The essays in this volume celebrating the contributions of Hubert Decleer had their genesis in a panel of presentations at the Twelfth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies held in Vancouver in 2010. The conference fortuitously coincided with Hubert’s seventieth birthday; it also marked the twenty-second anniversary of the School for International Training’s Tibetan Studies program. The panel was meant, in part, to recognize Hubert’s influence on the new generation of scholars in the fields of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies. The presenters therefore comprised a cohort of his former students, alumni representing the program’s two decades in the region: Andrew Quintman (spring 1988), Jacob Dalton (spring 1989), Kabir Mansingh Heimsath (spring 1989), Eric Mortensen (fall 1991), Benjamin Bogin (fall 1993), and Dominique Townsend (spring 2000). Five of these papers, as well as a contribution by program alumna Sarah Jacoby (spring 1995), appear here, together with essays by eight of Hubert’s colleagues in North America, Europe, and Asia representing more senior voices in the field.

We are delighted to have an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the diverse range of Hubert’s achievements. We celebrate his work as a studyabroad academic director that shattered the limited worldview of nearly one thousand undergraduate college students and introduced many of us to the cultures we have come to love. We celebrate his work as a scholar who has taught us much about the religious, literary, musical, and artistic traditions of the Himalaya as well as the pop cultures of Europe and North America. We celebrate his work as a mentor who inspired many of us to return to Asia when we finished college, to enter graduate programs in fields as varied as Anthropology, Art History, Development Studies, History, Philosophy, Public Policy, and Religious Studies. We celebrate his work as a colleague for those of us who were fortunate to work alongside Hubert over the years as codirectors of the SIT Tibetan Studies program and for those who have continued in other related fields in academia, study abroad, nonprofit and public service, the fine arts, and even business and philanthropy in Asia. And finally, we celebrate his work (if you can call it that) as a friend who regularly shared daal bhaat at his dining table or coffee on his terrace overlooking the Svayambhū mahācaitya. His home was a legendary oasis for scholars, former students, artists, and musicians passing through or residing in Nepal, filled with conversation that never failed to make us think about the world in new ways. We are happy to have an opportunity to celebrate the work Hubert has done and to thank him for it.

A Note on Transliteration and Phonetics

Tibetan names are phoneticized in the main body of the text using a slightly modified form of Wisdom Publication’s guidelines. Transliterations appear parenthetically after the first instance, and are retained in the notes, according to the system developed by Turrell Wylie. There are a few exceptions based on the preferences of individual authors.

Acknowledgments

The editors would like to thank Nazneen Zafar for her assistance in the preparation of this volume and for her instrumental role in the scholarly endeavors and friendships represented here. They also thank David Kittelstrom of Wisdom Publications for his editorial acumen and his support of this publication.

 

How to cite this document:
© Benjamin Bogin and Andrew Quintman, Himalayan Passages (Wisdom Publications, 2014)

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