April 27: Sulmaan Khan on “Muslim, Trader, Nomad, Spy: China’s Cold War and the People of the Tibetan Borderlands”

In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled Lhasa, leaving the People’s Republic of China with a crisis on its Tibetan frontier. Drawing upon never before seen Chinese sources, Sulmaan Khan tells, for the first time, the story of how non-state actors moving across the Tibetan borderlands exposed state weakness and caused the PRC to move from empire-lite to a harder, heavier imperial formation. That change transformed Chinese policy towards the third world and the Cold War.

Sulmaan Khan is assistant professor of international history and Chinese foreign relations at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. A Yale Ph.D., he has published articles in Cold War History and Diplomatic History. He has also written for The Economist, Yale Environment 360, and The American Interest, on topics ranging from Burmese Muslims to dolphins in the Bosphorus. Muslim, Trader, Nomad, Spy: China’s Cold War and the People of the Tibetan Borderlands is his first book.

The seminar meets at 4:00 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room, Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop.

The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center. It meets weekly during the academic year. See www.nationalhistorycenter.org for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as webcasts and podcasts. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support. Reservations requested because of limited seating.

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