Environmental, Cultural and Geopolitical Impacts of Developing the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) River Lecture and discussion with Dr. Ruth Gamble, La Trobe University
December 5, 2018
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jackman Humanities Building, Rm 318
170 St. George St
The transboundary Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) River flows across the Tibetan Plateau at an average altitude of more than 4000 meters, before entering northeast India through the world’s deepest gorge. The river feeds two biodiversity hotspots in the Himalaya and over 200 million people in South Asia. It has played a central role in Tibetan religious, cultural and political history for millennia, and recent clashes between China and India over its waters look set to intensify as both nations seek to develop its basin. China, in particular, is engaged in a profound transformation of the river through multiple large-scale development projects: hydro-electrical dams, a high-speed rail line, a freeway, relocated housing, tourism infrastructure, and large agricultural projects. Many of the resources to build this infrastructure, including sand and water, are taken straight from the river and processed in concrete factories along the river’s edge. Using photographs and videos from a recent field trip, Ruth Gamble will discuss the diverse implications of this profound transformation.
Dr. Ruth Gamble has research expertise in the history, cultures, religions, literature, and languages of Tibet and the Himalaya. She is particularly interested in the rapidly changing environment in this region and the effects it has on its inhabitants. Dr. Gamble was a researcher at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany and taught Tibetan language studies and Asian Religions at the Australian National University. She was the inaugural fellow of Yale University’s Himalaya Initiative and is now a David Myers Research Fellow at La Trobe University. She is researching and writing a history of the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) River, and working as an environmental historian and cultural advisor in a multi-disciplinary project focused on rehabilitating the eastern Tibetan Plateau’s peatlands.
This lecture is sponsored by the Himalayan Borderlands project (see https://khangchendzonga.github.io/) .