Robert Barnett is an Associate Research Scholar, Director of the Modern Tibet Studies Program and an Adjunct Professor of Contemporary Tibetan Studies at the Columbia University Weatherhead East Asian Institute.

Professor Barnett founded and directs the Modern Tibetan Studies Program at Columbia, the first Western teaching program in this field. He ran an annual summer program for foreign students at Tibet University in Lhasa from 2000 to 2005 and teaches courses on Tibetan film, television, biography, and other subjects. He researches and teaches courses on the topics of modern Tibetan history, culture and politics; film and television in Inner Asia; and nationality issues in China.

Professor Barnett has edited or written a number of books on modern Tibet, including A Poisoned Arrow: The Secret Petition of the 10th Panchen Lama (Tibet Information Network, 1998), Leaders in Tibet: A Directory (Tibet Information Network 1997), Cutting Off the Serpent's Head: Tightening Control in Tibet 1994-1995 (Human Rights Watch, 1996), and Resistance and Reform in Tibet (Indiana University Press, 1994). His most recent book is Tibetan Modernities: Notes from the Field on Social and Cultural Change, co-edited with Ronald Schwartz (Brill, 2008). In 2006 his book Lhasa: Streets with Memories was published by Columbia University Press. Recent articles include " Tsogt Taij and the Disappearance of the Overlords," in Inner Asia (2007); "Women and Political Participation in Tibet," in Janet Havnevik and J. Gyatso, eds., Women in Tibet: Past and Present ( Columbia University Press, 2006); and "The Secret Secret: Cinema, Ethnicity and 17th Century Tibetan- Mongolian Relations," in Inner Asia (2002).

He is a frequent commentator on Tibet and nationality issues in China for the BBC, CNN, NPR, CBS, The New York Times, the Washington Post, and other media. He runs three projects on development and education in Tibet that include training programs in ecotourism and conservation.

Before joining Columbia's faculty in 1998, Professor Barnett worked as a journalist and researcher in the United Kingdom, specializing in Tibetan issues for the BBC, the South China Morning Post, VOA, the Guardian, the Independent and other media outlets. From 1987-1998, Dr. Barnett was director of an independent Tibet news and research project in London. He has also worked as a journalist for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), the BBC, The Observer (London), The Independent (London), and other news outlets.

Last Updated: April 5, 2021



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