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Tigers of the Snow and Other Virtual Sherpas:
An Ethnography of Himalayan Encounters
Vincanne Adams

Paperback | 1995 | $62.50 | £52.95 | ISBN: 9780691001111
296 pp. | 7 3/4 x 10 | 25 halftones
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Sherpas are portrayed by Westerners as heroic mountain guides, or "tigers of the snow," as Buddhist adepts, and as a people in touch with intimate ways of life that seem no longer available in the Western world. In this book, Vincanne Adams explores how attempts to characterize an "authentic" Sherpa are complicated by Western fascination with Sherpas and by the Sherpas' desires to live up to Western portrayals of them. Noting that diplomatic aides at world summit meetings go by the name "Sherpa," as do a van in the U.K. built for rough terrain and a software product from Silicon Valley, Adams examines the "authenticating" effects of this mobile signifier on a community of Himalayan Sherpas who live at the base of Mount Everest, Nepal, and its "deauthenticating" effects on anthropological representation.

This book speaks not only to anthropologists concerned with ethnographic portrayals of Otherness but also to those working in cultural studies who are concerned with ethnographically grounded analyses of representations. Throughout Adams illustrates how one might undertake an ethnography of transnationally produced subjects by using the notion of "virtual" identities. In a manner informed by both Buddhism and shamanism, virtual Sherpas are always both real and distilled reflections of the desires that produce them.


"Adams's book promises to be a provocative if not controversial contribution to the field of Himalayan Studies; it should also stir debate among those concerned with ethnography, cultural studies, [and] identity construction."--Journal of Asian Studies

Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations
Orthographic Note
Introduction: Lament for Pasang 3
Ch. 1 Sherpas in Mirrors 39
Ch. 2 Making Modern Sherpas 79
Ch. 3 Buddhist Sherpas as Others 121
Ch. 4 The Intimacy of Shamanic Sherpas 171
Ch. 5 Seduction and Simulative Power in the Himalayas: Staying Sherpa 206
Conclusion: Virtual Sherpas in Circulation 233
Appendix A Khentse Rinpoche Lecture, Tengboche, 1987 243
Appendix B Exerpts from "The Stages of Repelling Demons Based on the Heart Sutra, the Summary of the Vast, Intermediate, and Condensed Mothers" 247
Appendix C Musings on Textuality and Truth 251
Appendix D Production/Seduction 257
Notes 263
Glossary of Sherpa Terms 283
Bibliography 289
Index 299

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File created: 7/11/2017

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