Melvyn C. Goldstein: Case Western U. Scholar Collects Tales of Tibetans Facing Tumultuous Times





Melvyn C. Goldstein, an anthropologist at Case Western Reserve University, has spent 40 years, off and on, collecting oral histories from Tibet.

Among the storytellers is a teenage girl who repeatedly defied her parents by sneaking out of the house to socialist meetings for young people after the People's Republic of China crushed a rebellion in 1959. When her parents seized her shoes in an effort to stop her, the girl, whose family lived in poverty, attended meetings barefoot. She eventually became a local Communist Party official, and she remains a village leader to this day.

As rural Tibetans who have endured decades of tumult approach old age, Mr. Goldstein, who is also a director of the university's Center for Research on Tibet, has preserved their stories. He has interviewed more than 700 Tibetans for the Tibet Oral History and Archive Project, which includes 30,000 pages of transcripts and more than 2,000 hours of audiotape.

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