SOAS University of London

Tribal Cultures in the Eastern Himalayas, Volume 2 Himalayan Tribal Tales

Himalayan Tribal Tales
Oral Tradition and Culture in the Apatani Valley
Stuart Blackburn
  • October 2008
  • ISBN 978 90 04 17133 6
  • Hardback (xviii, 298 pp.)
  • List price EUR 69.- / US$ 110.-
  • Brill’s Tibetan Studies Library, Tribal Cultures in the Eastern Himalayas, 16


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.

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

Stuart H. Blackburn, Ph.D (1980) in South Asian Studies and Folklore, University of California, Berkeley, is Senior Research Associate at SOAS. He has published ten books on oral literature and culture in India, including Moral Fictions (FFC 278) (2001).