Gazetteer Feature Entry

Tibetan Renaissance Seminar > Assignments > Gazetteer Feature Entry

Gazetteer Feature Entry Guidelines from the Tibetan Renaissance Seminar

This involves making more detailed descriptions of given places. The keystone is making paragraph long summaries of the places that are intended as general, comprehensive surveys of a given place's history and significance. Then do a more detailed analysis of how the place figures into the Blue Annals. Unlike a Place Essay, you don't have to write an overall interpretative study or detailed history. In addition, make sure that the place's feature type has been entered in the Place Names Cited in the Blue Annals tables.

Before picking a place, check the Blue Annals place index and make sure there are least 6 and preferably more entries on that place. Then quickly check over those passages and make sure there is enough of substance to do with it. Then also check secondary literature – back of book indexes, journal indexes, etc. to see what you can find out about it.

But you should be able to do interesting things in analyzing the Blue Annals passages. First take an analytical approach – build a table with rows and columns in Word to analyze the traits of each reference. For example, you might see for each passage what sectarian affiliation is involved, if its lay or monastic, what type of event it is mentioned in relationship to, what the date is, etc. The specific characteristics being tracked will have to relate to what you are seeing as you examine the specific passages. Once you have built a tracking scheme, you then analyze it to see what types of patterns you can analyze. Even if you only develop questions and tentative possibilities out of that analysis, that is still a very valuable exercise.

Write these entries in a flowing fashion that ties the whole account together. Start the entry with a synthetic account of the place’s significance and history that attempts to be introductory. Then give secondly more specific information and incidents that might be more narrative in character. Remember to think about this place in the context of our time period – what is its significance? What are questions and broader connections during our time period.

For a given place/region, you could ask questions about that type of place, and what functions they have in our time period. You can ask what clans are associated with it, what sacred sites, monasteries, cultural regions, polities, historical associations, sectarian associations, etc.

Modest agenda – but one that is a real analytical or interpretative result. Indeed, that might be better, more refined questions. Start with questions about why you are looking at these places. Then analyze distribution of incidents for the places according to criteria that help you begin to sort out the different natures of these. For example with “kham”:

  • is it kham as a place, or kham as an ethnic affiliation of someone operative in other areas
  • what kind of event is it?
  • what kind of sectarian association is operative here?

if places don’t occur much or with much detail, then best to not do them.

List sequences of administrative locations and cultural locations starting with the largest united and proceeding to the smallest unit, with > separating each. Thus USA > Virginia > Albemarle County > Charlottesville.

Do this for a total of 3 places.

For details, see thdl gazetteer/Place Name Dictionary. However here, the above is sufficient. Link to it from the Place Name in the Place Names Cited in the Blue Annals tables as a new WIKI page.

Examples: Gazetteer Feature Entries