SOAS Lecture Series:
Female Tibetan Masters
with Prof. Paola Zamperini
In this talk Professor Zamperini discusses the lives of prominent female teachers in Tibetan Buddhism, in order to reconstruct the trajectories to realisation that women like Yeshe Tsogyal, Mandarava, Yid Thogma, Machig Labdron, Sera Khandro, and Ayu Khandro, among others, undertook, often at high personal and societal cost. By utilising biographical and, as much as possible, autobiographical records, she will analyse both the narrative and social aspects of these women’s choice to privilege the Vajarayana path to enlightenment at the expense of more conventional and socially accepted lifestyles.
Professor Paola Zamperini
Paola Zamperini is Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Civilizations and Women and Gender Studies at Amherst College, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Shang Shung Institute of Tibetan Studies. Her primary scholarly interests are pre-modern Chinese literature, gender studies, Vajrayana Buddhism, Chinese history, as well as contemporary Chinese fiction, cinema, and popular culture. She holds a B.A. in Chinese language and literature from the University of Ca’ Foscari in Venice, Italy, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Chinese literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Her book Lost Bodies: Representing Prostitution in Late Qing Fiction was published in 2010 with E. J. Brill Press, and she is currently at work on her new manuscript, Losing It. Gambling in Chinese Literature.