Himalayan Tribal Tales

Oral Tradition and Culture in the Apatani Valley


This study of an oral tradition in northeast India is the first of its kind in this part of the eastern Himalayas. A comparative analysis reveals parallel stories in an area stretching from central Arunachal Pradesh into upland Southeast Asia and southwest China.
The subject of the volume, the Apatanis, are a small population of Tibeto-Burman speakers who live in a narrow valley halfway between Tibet and Assam. Their origin myths, migration legends, oral histories, trickster tales and ritual chants, as well as performance contexts and genre system, reveal key cultural ideas and social practices, shifts in tribal identity and the reinvention of religion.
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EUR €86.00USD $113.00

Biographical Note

Stuart Blackburn, Ph.D. (1980) in Folklore and South Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. He has published several books on oral tradition and culture in India, including (with Michael Aram Tarr) Through the Eye of Time: Photographs of Arunachal Pradesh, 1859-2006 (Brill, 2008).

Review Quotes

"Not only does Blackburn collect tales, myths, oral histories, and ritual chants with great sensitivity to the social context of the performance, he also opens up meaningful new cross-border directions in Asian folklore studies. Blackburn's comparative work is sure to encourage further investigations into the complex patterns of migration, cultural diffusion, and economic exchange within the 'extended eastern Himalayas'...the scholarly understanding of the Apatani oral traditions has been firmly cemented through the publication of Himalayan Tribal Tales."
Adheesh Sathaye, University of British Columbia, JAS, 69/2


Anyone interested in oral tradition, the Himalayas, northeast India, southeast Asia, Tibeto-Burman languages, as well as tribal culture and religion generally.

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