Professor Mark Aldenderfer will give three lectures on the theme of ‘The Himalaya: Past, Present and Future’.
The first of these lectures, ‘Mountain People and Climate Change’, will take place in the Old Library at Pembroke College on 18th April, at 5:30pm. High mountains are at once forbidding and welcoming — they appear impenetrable but yet are surprisingly permeable. Reflecting on genetics, paleoclimatology, and anthropology, Professor Aldenderfer will describes how people over the millennia have faced up to the challenges of moving through and around the High Himalayas.
The second lecture will take place on 25th April at 5:30pm in the Old Library at Pembroke. ‘Himilayan Migrations: Past and Present’ will focus on climate change, which, although not as obvious, has been as devastating to peoples living in and around the world’s high mountains as it has been for those on coasts and ocean islands. Professor Aldenderfer, who has worked in the high mountains of the Andes and Himalayas for more than 30 years, will describe the challenges faced by highlanders and lowlanders as they cope with the uncertainties of the future.
The final lecture in the series, ‘All Compounded Things are Subject to Decay: an Archaeology of Tibetan Buddhism’, will take place in the Seminar Room at the McDonald Institute, at 4pm on 2nd May. For most westerners, Buddhism is timeless, and Tibet remote and romantic. For the historical Buddha, his last words remind us of the impermanence of all things. For the archaeologist, however, the material expression of Buddhism on the Tibetan Plateau offers insights into the transformation and evolution of Buddhist thought as it encounters indigenous, pre-Buddhist conceptions of landscape and religion, borrowings of ritual from Central and East Asia, and the changing political fortunes of the emerging Tibetan empire.
Professor Aldenderfer is a Visiting Fellow at Pembroke College. His research is sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust.