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Accueil > Membres > Permanents

SIHLÉ Nicolas - Director

CNRS Researcher and director of the Centre for Himalayan Studies

Contact : nicolas.sihle [at] cnrs.fr

 
Position

Anthropologist (CNRS section 38)

Research Topics

A social anthropologist by training (PhD Paris-Nanterre University 2001), Nicolas Sihlé first taught at the Department of anthropology at the University of Virginia (USA) from 2002 to 2010, before joining the CNRS Centre for Himalayan Studies in the Paris area. He also teaches at the undergraduate level at INALCO and at the graduate (masters) level at EHESS.

N. Sihlé specializes on Tibetan society and religion, and on Buddhist societies more generally. His research focuses in particular on religious specialists called tantrists (ngakpa), key figures of the non-monastic side of Tibetan Buddhism, generally characterized by their practice of tantric rituals involving occasionally strong ritual power and even ritual violence, as in violent exorcisms. He has carried out extended fieldwork in the Mustang district (northern Nepal) as well as in the Repkong district in northeast Tibet (Amdo/Qinghai), but also shorter periods of research in Ladakh (northern India), Dolpo (NW Nepal), Nyemo (central Tibet), and Bhutan.

His first book, based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in culturally Tibetan areas in the north of Nepal, appeared in 2013, under the title Rituels bouddhiques de pouvoir et de violence : La figure du tantriste tibétain [Buddhist rituals of power and violence : The figure of the Tibetan tantrist]. It analyzed the striking features of this type of Buddhist specialist : a highly ritualistic orientation (with a strong magical component) ; the practice of tantric rituals involving strong ritual power and even ritual violence (which shows here, comparatively speaking, quite a paradoxical centrality in a Buddhist context) ; the association between ritual legitimacy and power on the one hand and hereditary lineage on the other ; and the relative absence of references to renunciation. The analysis of the monk vs. tantrist duality is more broadly relevant for thinking about religious fields that are organized around values such as ritual power/violence vs. ritual/ethical purity. This work has also involved thinking about written texts (such as a local corpus of manual rituals) as objects in need of a fully ethnographic analysis that takes into account their materiality, their partaking in a social and political economy, but also their particular status, at the juncture between a local universe of meanings and practices and a wider (e.g., Buddhist or Tibetan) cultural world.

His current major research project focuses on the large communities of Buddhist and Bönpo tantrists of the Repkong district in northeast Tibet (Chinese Qinghai province), where is has been conducting fieldwork since 2003. The focus is here (i) on very large-scale collective rituals and their place, among others, in the constitution of supra-local collectivities and the negotiation of identities, as well as (ii) on the vicissitudes of the religious sphere, and in particular of ritual, in the context of the transformations of the moral, intellectual, social and political universe of post-Mao Amdo.

These projects all contribute to a comparative anthropology of Buddhism—a major emphasis in his research activity. He is thus involved for instance in the coordination of a network of scholars (with several years of workshops and seminars) engaging in the comparative anthropology of Buddhism. In this context, he has co-edited a special issue on the Buddhist gift (Religion Compass 2015).

He is also the main editor of the collective research blog The Himalayas and Beyond (http://himalayas.hypotheses.org/).

Keywords

Comparative anthropology of Buddhism ; Tibetan Buddhism ; tantric Buddhism ; ritual ; religious specialists ; anthropology of religion ; religious field ; gift ; ritual violence ; ritual text ; Tibet ; Himalayas ; Baragaon/Mustang ; Dolpo ; Nyemo ; Amdo ; Repkong
 
 
 

Video (in French) : Manger ensemble dans des contextes bouddhiques : diversité des logiques (Eating together in Buddhist contexts : the diversity of logics)

 
 
 
List of publications

33 résultats
Article dans une revue
Nicolas Sihlé
Assessing and Adapting Rituals That Reproduce a Collectivity: The Large-Scale Rituals of the Repkong Tantrists in Tibet
Religion and Society, Berghahn, 2018, 9 (1), pp.160-175
Article dans une revue
Nicolas Sihlé
De la nécessité des cheveux longs : identité religieuse, divinité incorporée et pouvoir parmi les tantristes du Repkong (nord-est du Tibet)
Ateliers d'anthropologie, Laboratoire d'ethnologie et de sociologie comparative - Université Paris Nanterre, 2018, Numéro spécial « Trichologie tibétaine : Les cheveux et leur traitement dans l’aire tibétaine », 45
Direction d'ouvrage, Proceedings
Nicolas Sihlé
Trichologie tibétaine : Les cheveux et leur traitement dans l’aire tibétaine (numéro spécial)
Ateliers d'anthropologie, 45, 2018
Direction d'ouvrage, Proceedings
Françoise Robin, Nicola Schneider, Nicolas Sihlé
Trichologie tibétaine. Les cheveux et leur traitement au Tibet
France. 2018
Article dans une revue
Nicolas Sihlé
Une brève introduction à la cérémonie appelée « enlever les cheveux impurs de l’enfant »
Ateliers d'anthropologie, Laboratoire d'ethnologie et de sociologie comparative - Université Paris Nanterre, 2018, Numéro spécial « Trichologie tibétaine : Les cheveux et leur traitement dans l’aire tibétaine », 45
Article dans une revue
Nicolas Sihlé, Patrice Ladwig
Introduction. Legacies, Trajectories and Comparison in the Anthropology of Buddhism
Religion and Society, Berghahn, 2017, 8, pp.109-128. ⟨10.3167/arrs.2017.080107⟩
Autre publication
Patrice Ladwig, Nicolas Sihlé
Toward a Comparative Anthropology of Buddhism
2017
Article dans une revue
Nicolas Sihlé
Towards a Comparative Anthropology of the Buddhist Gift (and Other Transfers)
Religion Compass, Wiley, 2015, 9 (11), pp.352-385. ⟨10.1111/rec3.12185⟩
Article dans une revue
Nicolas Sihlé
Introduction: The Comparative Anthropology of the Buddhist Gift
Religion Compass, Wiley, 2015, 9 (11), pp.347-351
Article dans une revue
Nicolas Sihlé
Review: Anya Bernstein. Religious Bodies Politic: Rituals of Sovereignty in Buryat Buddhism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013
Laboratorium : Russian review of social research, Centre for Independent Social Research, 2015, pp.211-214
Ouvrage (y compris édition critique et traduction)
Nicolas Sihlé, Bénédicte Perrière
Comparative anthropology of Buddhist transactions: moving beyond the Maussian terminology of the “gift.”
Wiley, 2015, Religion Compass
Article dans une revue
Nicolas Sihlé
Review of Buffetrille Katia (ed.), Revisiting Rituals in a Changing Tibetan World
Études mongoles et sibériennes, centrasiatiques et tibétaines, Centre d'Etudes Mongoles & Sibériennes / École Pratique des Hautes Études, 2015
Chapitre d'ouvrage
Nicolas Sihlé
Benefiting the Doctrine and Sentient Beings: The Life of a Tibetan Lineage Master [sic, for: Lineage Priest and Doctor,] and the Ethos of Altruistic Action
Lewis, Todd T. Buddhists: Understanding Buddhism Through the Lives of Practitioners, Wiley‐Blackwell, pp.236-245, 2014, Lived Religions, 978‐0‐470‐65818‐5
Article dans une revue
Nicolas Sihlé
Review: Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China, ed. by Paul Williams and Patrice Ladwig
Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Pennsylvania State University, 2014, pp.188-197
Article dans une revue
Nicolas Sihlé
Compte rendu de : Buddhist Fury: Religion and Violence in Southern Thailand, by Michael K. Jerryson, Oxford University Press: New York, 2011, vii + 262 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-979323-5, (hardback); ISBN 978-0-19-979324-2, (paperback)
Religion, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2013, 43 (3), pp.451--455. ⟨10.1080/0048721X.2013.780930⟩
Article dans une revue
Nicolas Sihlé
Compte rendu de : Bonds of the Dead: Temples, Burial, and the Transformation of Contemporary Japanese Buddhism, by Mark Rowe, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 2011, xv + 258 pp. ISBN 978 0226 73013 4, (cloth); ISBN 978 0226 73015 8, (paper); ISBN 978 0226 73016 5, (e-book)
Religion, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2013, 43 (2), pp.284--287. ⟨10.1080/0048721X.2012.728937⟩
Ouvrage (y compris édition critique et traduction)
Nicolas Sihlé
Rituels bouddhiques de pouvoir et de violence : La figure du tantriste tibétain
Brepols Publishers, 2013, Bibliothèque de l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Sciences Religieuses
Chapitre d'ouvrage
Nicolas Sihlé
Money, Butter and Religion: Remarks on Participation in the Large‐Scale Collective Rituals of the Rep kong (sic, for Repkong) Tantrists
Dhondup, Yangdon and Pagel, Ulrich and Samuel, Geoffrey. Monastic and Lay Traditions in North‐Eastern Tibet, Brill, pp.165-185, 2013, Brill's Tibetan studies library, ISSN 1568‐6183, 978‐90‐04‐25569‐2
Autre publication
Nicolas Sihlé
The Himalayas and Beyond: The Centre for Himalayan Studies Blog
2011
Article dans une revue
Nicolas Sihlé
Compte rendu de : The Navel of the Demoness: Tibetan Buddhism and Civil Religion in Highland Nepal
Religion, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2010, 40 (3), pp.219--221. ⟨10.1016/j.religion.2010.01.007⟩
Chapitre d'ouvrage
Nicolas Sihlé
Written Texts at the Juncture of the Local and the Global: Some Anthropological Considerations on a Local Corpus of Tantric Ritual Manuals (Lower Mustang, Nepal)
Tibetan ritual, Oxford University Press, pp.35-52, 2010, 978-0-19-539281-4
Article dans une revue
Nicolas Sihlé
Tendzin, moine tibétain
Religions & histoire. Hors-série, Éd. Faton, 2009-2014, 2010, pp.64
Chapitre d'ouvrage
Nicolas Sihlé
The ala and ngakpa priestly traditions of Nyemo (Central Tibet): Hybridity and hierarchy
Buddhism beyond the monastery: tantric practices and their performers in Tibet and the Himalayas : PIATS 2003 : Tibetan Studies : proceedings of the Tenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Oxford, 2003, Brill, pp.145-162, 2009, Brill's Tibetan studies library, ISSN 1568-6183, 978-90-04-17600-3
Autre publication
Nicolas Sihlé
Landscape, myth and the identity of a Tantrist community
2009
Autre publication
Nicolas Sihlé
Disorder and multiplicity of sacred geographies
2009
Chapitre d'ouvrage
Nicolas Sihlé
Buddhism in Tibet and Nepal: Vicissitudes of Traditions of Power and Merit
Buddhism in world cultures: comparative perspectives, ABC-CLIO, pp.245-284, 2006, ABC-CLIO religion in contemporary cultures series, 978-1-85109-782-1
Chapitre d'ouvrage
Nicolas Sihlé
Commentaire sur E. Berg, «Dumji and Zhindak: Local Festival Performance and Patronage as a Crucial Source of Sherpa Identity»
Ethnic revival and religious turmoil: indentities and representations in the Himalayas, Oxford University Press, pp.219-226, 2003, 978-0-19-565592-6
Chapitre d'ouvrage
Nicolas Sihlé
Désordre et multiplicité des géographies sacrées
Histoire et devenir des paysages en Himalaya. Lectures des milieux et gestion des ressources au Népal et au Ladakh, Editions du CNRS, pp.193-196, 2003
Autre publication
Nicolas Sihlé
Le paysage d'une communauté de tantristes : Paysage, mythe et identité
2003
Chapitre d'ouvrage
Nicolas Sihlé
Muktinath : Dans le haut Himalaya, un lieu saint où se rencontrent les cultures
Himalaya-Tibet : le choc des continents, Muséum national d'histoire naturelle : CNRS éd., pp.152-156, 2002, 978-2-271-05934-5
Article dans une revue
Nicolas Sihlé
La gestion des données de terrain : notes, indexation, bases de données
Ateliers d'anthropologie, Laboratoire d'ethnologie et de sociologie comparative - Université Paris Nanterre, 2000, pp.29-65
Autre publication
Nicolas Sihlé
« Tibétain », « Sherpa », « Bhoutanais », « Khampa », « Amdowa », « Bhotia », « Bhotia du nord-ouest de l'Inde », « Bhotia du nord du Népal »
1998
Autre publication
Nicolas Sihlé
Pour le bien-être des êtres et de la doctrine
1996, pp.84

 
 
 
Selective bibliography

2013, Rituels bouddhistes de pouvoir et de violence. La figure du tantriste tibétain. Brepols, 405 p.

2013, "Money, butter and religion : Remarks on participation in the large-scale collective rituals of the Repkong tantrists", in Y. Dhondup, G. Samuel, U. Pagel (eds.), Unity and Diversity : Monastic and Non-monastic Traditions in Amdo, Brill.

2013. Book review of "Buddhist Fury : Religion and Violence in Southern Thailand", Michael K. Jerryson, in Religion 43(3), p. 451-455.

2013. Book review of "Bonds of the Dead : Temples, Burial, and the Transformation of Contemporary Japanese Buddhism", Mark Rowe, in Religion 43(2), p. 284-287. Accessible online (since 9/10/2012) : http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0048721X.2012.728937.

2011-2013 The Himalayas and Beyond [Carnet de recherche collectif]. Concepteur du carnet, éditeur en chef, et 31 billets. Disponibles sur : http://himalayas.hypotheses.org/ [consulté le 4 nov. 2013]. ISSN : 2257-5472.

2010. "Tendzin, moine tibétain", in Être moine. A. Herrou, D. Iogna-Prat and A. Poujeau (eds.), Special edition No. 3, Histoire et religions, p. 64.

2010. Compte rendu de The Navel of the Demoness : Tibetan Buddhism and Civil Religion in Highland Nepal, de Charles Ramble, in Religion 40(3), pp. 219-221.

2009, "Written Texts at the Juncture of the Local and the Global : Some Anthropological Considerations on a Local Corpus of Tantric Ritual Manuals (Lower Mustang, Nepal)", in José Cabezón (éd.), Tibetan Ritual, New York, Oxford University Press, p. 35-52.

2009, "The Ala and Ngakpa Priestly Traditions of Nyemo (Central Tibet) : Hybridity and Hierarchy", in Sarah Jacoby, Antonio Terrone (eds.), Buddhism Beyond the Monastery, Leiden, Brill, p. 145-162.

2006, "Buddhism in Tibet and Nepal : Vicissitudes of Traditions of Power and Merit", in Stephen Berkwitz (ed.), Buddhism in World Cultures : Comparative Perspectives, Santa Barbara, California, ABC-CLIO, p. 245-284.

2002, "Lhachö [Lha mchod] and Hrinän [Sri gnon] : The Structure and Diachrony of a Pair of Rituals (Baragaon, Northern Nepal)", in H. Blezer (éd.), Religion and Secular Culture in Tibet : Tibetan Studies II, Leiden, Brill, Brill’s Tibetan Studies Library, vol. 2/2, p. 185-206.

Complete list of publications