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Bhutan, History, Language and Oral Traditions

par Lemardelé Élise - publié le , mis à jour le

Director : Françoise Pommaret (CNRS)

Associate Member : Françoise Robin (INALCO)

This programme consolidates Françoise Pommaret’s years of efforts in promoting scholarship on Bhutan and benefits from her secondment to a tertiary institution in Bhutan, the Institute of Language and Culture Studies, Royal University of Bhutan. The programme focuses on two areas.
Firstly, the documentation and study of Bhutan’s history, including oral tradition, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as the ethnographic study of different local communities whose lifestyles is undergoing irreversible changes owing to recent economic development and migrations within the country.
Research in this field is already underway with the projects launched by Françoise Pommaret in cooperation with the ILCS.

The second part of the programme focuses on the study of Dzongka, the national language.
It is conducted with ILCS in partnership with Françoise Robin, Professor of Tibetan at INALCO and associate member of the CRCAO.

Objectives of the program :

1. Impose the CRCAO as an international leader in social studies on Bhutan.
2. Study of Bhutan’s cultural links with Tibet as well as its specific cultural markers.
3. Contribute to the scientific study of a Himalayan country.

National and international collaborations :

- An agreement between the CNRS and Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) has been established. Françoise Pommaret is working with the ILCS, RUB on the oral history of Bhutan (early monarchic period), and on the ethnographic study of various communities.
- Collaboration with the department of Tibetan studies at INALCO : Françoise Robin, professor and director of the department is working in partnership with ILCS on the drafting of a Dzongkha language textbook.

- Françoise Pommaret’s research articles (rituals, society, elite and power)
- Françoise Pommaret, George van Driem, Bern University and Karma Tshering, Parlons Dzongkha (Let’s speak Dzongkha), Harmattan, Paris, 2014.
- Publications on the documented communities, in partnership with ILCS.
- Online release of the documentation on

In preparation
- Françoise Pommaret’s research articles (rituals, society, elite and power)
- A book compiling her articles on Bhutan to date : From Yak to Bamboo. Bhutan collected articles, Vajra Publications, expected publication date : 2015.
- Françoise Robin & Lungtaen Gyatso, Manual of Dzongkha.