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Brendan A. Galipeau is the Annette and Hugh Gragg Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Transnational Asian Studies at the Chao Center for Asian Studies at Rice University. His research interests and publications focus on the Tibetan regions of southwest China, historical and contemporary wine and viticulture, Catholic missionaries in Tibet, landscapes, and the socio-cultural impacts of hydropower development and agrochemical pollution.

Protecting Sacred Commons

This essay explores a particular kind of viticulture in Tibetan communities in northwest Yunnan province. While mainstream wineries emphasise modernity at any cost without much concern for the environment, these Tibetan grape growers pursue an ecologically-friendly agenda meant to protect ‘common’ sacred landscapes. Reasons for this choice include observations of chemical degradation of the land, Buddhist ethics, and new conceptions of how ethnic representation can be exemplified by more ecologically-friendly forms of commodity production.

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