CRCAO member - TBACT Team

Valentina Punzi

École Pratique des Hautes Études


I am a Sinologist and Tibetologist with specialization in Tibetan folk religions and oral cultures in the PRC as well as over a decade of fieldwork experience in Tibetan areas (Qinghai, Sichuan, and TAR). Having received additional training in folklore theories and methodologies, my research interest sits at the nexus of environmental knowledge, folk religion, and oral history among Tibetan and Tibetan-classified communities in the Sino-Tibetan borderlands.

My first research area deals with the way in which ritual practices and their transformation reflect Tibetan cosmology while shaping a historized perception of the landscape.

Closely connected, my second main research area focuses on oral history and collective memory. In particular, I focus on the heritage of the Maoist and post-Mao era among contemporary Tibetan communities, while articulating ethnic relations among neighboring communities in the Sino-Tibetan borderlands at large.

My most recent research interest revolves around the narratological and performative study of Tibetan-script ritual manuscripts, the use of vernacular literacy, and the establishment of social authority among ritual specialists in the Sino-Tibetan borderlands with a particular focus on the Baima community.

Drawing on my ethnographic fieldwork in this area, I explore emic epistemologies and vernacular theories with regard to the conceptualizations of history and ritual.

Research thematics

  • Ethnic and interethnic identities of Tibetan-classified communities in the Sino-Tibetan borderlands
  • Narratological and performative aspects in Tibetan-script ritual manuscripts
  • Oral-written interplay in Tibetan ritual performances
  • Collective memory of the Mao and post-Mao era in the oral cultures of the Sino-Tibetan borderlands
  • Emic epistemologies and vernacular theories about history and ritual
  • Cosmologies and environmental knowledge of Tibetan and non-Tibetan communities in the Sino-Tibetan borderlands

CRCAO research programmes

Publications (HAL Archive Ouverte)

  • Olivia Aubriot, Tristan Bruslé, Stéphane Gros, Adhikari Jagannath, Campbell Ben, et al.. Stories of circulations in the Himalayas. European Bulletin of Himalayan Research, 2022, 59, ⟨10.4000/ebhr.692⟩. ⟨hal-04266840⟩
  • Valerio Frazzini, Alberto Granzotto, Manuela Bomba, Noemi Massetti, Vanessa Castelli, et al.. The pharmacological perturbation of brain zinc impairs BDNF-related signaling and the cognitive performances of young mice. Scientific Reports, 2018, 8 (1), pp.9768. ⟨10.1038/s41598-018-28083-9⟩. ⟨hal-04438161⟩