Dr. Martin A. Mills is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland and Director of the Scottish Centre for Himalayan Research. He specialises in the comparative organisation and structure of governance in religious, state and medical institutions. He has previously lectured and researched at the universities of Edinburgh, St.Andrews and Sussex.
Dr. Mills' principal research focus is the anthropological study of Tibetan communities, in particular its religious and governmental institutions. Author of Identity, Ritual and State in Tibetan Buddhism: The Foundations of Authority in Gelukpa Monasticism (Routledge 2003), he has carried out fieldwork in Tibet, Ladakh, China, Northern India and Scotland over the last thirty years. He is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute and member of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth, as well as member of the International Association for Tibetan Studies and the International Association of Ladakh Studies.
Dr. Mills is Secretary of the Cross-Party Group on Tibet within the Scottish Parliament, Chairman of the China Studies Group at Aberdeen and Academic Representative to Court in the University of Aberdeen.
All anthropologists tend to have two specialisations: one theoretical, the other substantive.
Theoretically, Dr Mills' major research interest lies in the comparative study of authority - whether in political, religious, medical or educational spheres - as a function of legitimate governance. This is not simply in terms of the imposition of command, but also the creation and organisation of social and theoretical truths within populations, and the formation of consensus. Thematically, this core research focus involves a general specialisation in the comparative organisation and structure of governance in religious, state and medical institutions.
In substantive and ethnographic terms, Dr Mills' primary research interest lies in the anthropology of Tibet and Tibetan-speaking areas, and in particular its religious and state life. Over the last three decades, this has involved a progression of research projects focused on the ceremonial nexuses of Tibetan monastic and state life.Such projects have involved the formulation of new ways in which modern ethnographers of Tibetan regions can integrate their work with textual specialists and indigenous scholars to create an historical anthropology of the region.
Ritual and State in Tibetan History
Since 2003, Mills has engaged in extensive research on the indigenous constitutional history of Tibet. This has involved three main areas of research: the study of the political history of the Ganden Podrang, the Dalai Lama's government at Lhasa from 1642 to 1959, and in exile since 1959; the philological study of medieval and modern manuscripts as they relate to Tibetan understandings of legitimate governance, in particular its own mythology of divine Buddhist kingship; and the ethnographic and historical study of the Ganden Podrang's ceremonial practices of statecraft.
At the heart of these issues is a theoretical concern with four issues:
The importance of ceremony and ceremonial understandings of statecraft - rather than mere belief - as the basis for the daily functioning and sovereignty of religious states.
The formation of mythological and constitutional and narratives as the basis for indigenous solidarities and political consciousness, both in the past and the modern day;
- The study of indigenous relations with the land and landscape as an central aspect of ceremonial sovereignty.
- The place of conflict and warfare in religious states such as historical Tibet.
As Director of the Scottish Centre for Himalayan Research, Dr Mills is Secretary of the Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Tibet, and a member of the Cross-Party Group on China and the Westminster All-Parliamentary Group on Tibet. In his advisory role for these groups, he has authored and co-authored parliamentary briefing papers on public protest, human rights, religious regulation, political sovereignty and international law and environmental change on the Tibetan Plateau (see Publications). He is also Chairman of the Aberdeen Chinese Studies Group.
In doing so, Dr Mills has maintained a wide variety of fruitful collaborations, including amongst others:
- The Scottish Parliament at Hollyrood, Edinburgh.
- The International Association fot Tibet Studies.
- The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD, Nepal)
- The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, one of the world's principal sources on indigenous Tibetan historical and religious manuscripts.
- The Edinburgh Buddhist Studies Network.
- The Tibet Society, London.
- The International Campaign for Tibet.
- The Office of Tibet, London.
- The Tibet Policy Institute.
- The Confucius Institute, Scotland.
Research Supervision Areas
- Political anthropology and the anthropology of the state
- Medical Anthropology
- Tibetan and Himalayan systems of governance.
- Buddhist monasticism and ritual
- Religion and the state
- Modern religious movements and insurgencies
- SL5010 Principles of Research Design
- SL5006 Research Skills
- AT2005 Political Anthropology (groups, nations and movements)
- AT4525 The Constitutional Imagination (anthropology of the state)
- AT3540 Medical Anthropology
- Further Info
- Member, Executive Committee of the International Association of Ladakh Studies;
- Member, International Association of Tibetan Studies;
- Member, Scottish Parliament Cross-Party Group on Tibet;
- Fellow, Royal Anthropological Institute;
- Fellow, Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth.
Page 1 of 1 Results 1 to 32 of 32
- Mills, MA 2018, Exorcising Mauss' Ghost in the Western Himalayas: Buddhist Giving as Collective Work. in Sangha Economies: Temple Organisation and Exchanges in Contemporary Buddhism.
- Mills, MA 2018, 'Playing the Long Game? The Politics of Religious Revival in China and Tibet' Asia Dialogue. <> [Online] DOI: http://theasiadialogue.com/2018/06/15/playing-the-long-game-the-politics-of-religious-revival-in-china-and-tibet/
- Mills, MA 2018, The Last Gift of the God-King: Narrating the Dalai Lama’s Resignation. in S Bhoil & E Galvan-Alvarez (eds), Tibetan Subjectivities on the Global Stage: Negotiating Dispossession. Studies in Modern Tibetan Culture, Lexington Books, London.
- Mills, MA 2017, 'A strange modernity: On the contradictions of the neoliberal university' ANUAC, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 47-52. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.7340/anuac2239-625X-2980
- Mills, M 2017, 'Dividing the Third Pole: Beijing's Vision for the Tibetan Plateau' China Policy Institute: Analysis.
- Mills, MA 2017, 'Review of Subject to Death: Life and Loss in a Buddhist World, by Robert Desjarlais: Chicago, IL, University of Chicago Press, 2016, 295 pp. including bibliography and indexes, 39 photographs, US$30.00 (paperback), ISBN 9780226355870', South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 678-679. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00856401.2017.1342901
- Woodhouse, E, Mills, MA, McGowan, PJK & Milner-Gulland, EJ 2015, 'Religious Relationships with the Environment in a Tibetan Rural Community: Interactions and Contrasts with Popular Notions of Indigenous Environmentalism', Human Ecology, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 295-307. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-015-9742-4
- Mills, MA 2015, 'The Dalai Lama’s secret temple goes to London' The Conversation. <> [Online] DOI: http://theconversation.com/the-dalai-lamas-secret-temple-goes-to-london-50483
- Mills, MA 2015, 'The Perils of Exchange: Karma, Kingship and Templecraft in Tibet', Cahiers d'Extême Asie , vol. 24, pp. 189-209. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.3406/asie.2015.1320
- Mills, MA 2014, Who Belongs to Tibet? Governmental Narratives of State in the Ganden Podrang. in G Toffin & J Pfaff-Czarnecka (eds), Facing Globalization in the Himalayas: Belonging and the Politics of the Self. Governance, Conflict and Civic Action, vol. 5, SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, pp. 397-419.
- Mills, MA & May, SJ 2013, Self-Immolations in Tibet and China – 2013 Update: Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Tibet, Briefing Paper No.5. Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on Tibet.
- Mills, MA 2013, 'The Opposite of Witchcraft: Evans-Pritchard and the Problem of the Person', Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 18-33. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9655.12001
- Mills, MA 2012, 'Ritual as History in Tibetan Divine Kingship: Notes on the Myth of the Khotanese Monks', History of Religions, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 219-220. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/662190
- Mills, M 2011, Anthropology and Religious Studies. in J Gledhill & R Fardon (eds), The Sage Handbook of Social Anthropology. Sage Publications. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446201077.n14
- Mills, M & Scrimgeour, R 2010, Religious policy and state control in Tibet: Scottish Parliament cross-party group on Tibet, briefing paper 3. Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Tibet Briefing Papers, vol. 3, Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on Tibet.
- Mills, M & Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Tibet 2009, Issues of Sovereignty in the Sino-Tibetan Dispute: Briefing paper No.2 of the Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Tibet..
- Mills, M 2009, La double figure du moine: Monachisme et maisons. in A Herrou & G Krauskopff (eds), Moines et moniales de par le monde: La vie monastique au miroir de la parenté. Collection Religion et Sciences Humaines, Editions L'Harmattan, Paris, France, pp. 161-171.
- Mills, M 2009, This Circle of Kings: Modern Tibetan Visions of World Peace. in P Kirby (ed.), Boundless Worlds: An Anthropological Approach To Movement. Berghahn Books, New York, NY, USA, pp. 95-114.
- Mills, M 2008, Small Shoes and Painted Faces: Possession States and Embodiment in Buddhist Ladakh. in M Van Beek & F Pirie (eds), Modern Ladakh: Anthropological Perspectives on Continuity and Change. Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, pp. 139-152.
- Mills, M 2008, The 2008 Protests in Tibet: Main Facts & Analysis. Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Tibet Briefing Papers, vol. 1, Unknown Publisher.
- Mills, M 2007, 'Re-Assessing The Supine Demoness: Royal Buddhist Geomancy in the Srong btsan sgam po Mythology', Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, vol. 3, THL #T3108. <> [Online] DOI: http://www.thlib.org/collections/texts/jiats/#jiats=/03/mills/
- Mills, MA 2007, 'Roaring Mice: A comment on Ingold and Mesoudi, Whiten and Laland (AT 23)' Anthropology Today, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 24-25. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8322.2007.00540.x
- Mills, M 2007, 'Whither the Straw Man? A Response to Toni Huber', The Tibet Journal, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 47-56.
- Mills, M 2006, The Silence in Between: Governmentality and the Academic Voice in Tibetan Diaspora Studies. in Critical Journeys: The Making of Anthropologists. Critical Journeys: The Making of Anthropologists, pp. 191-206.
- Mills, M 2005, Funeral Practices in Tibet. in Davies, D. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Cremation. Davies, D. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Cremation, pp. 398-399.
- Mills, M 2005, Living in Time’s Shadow: Pollution, Purifi cation and Fractured Temporalities in Buddhist Ladakh. in The Qualities of Time: Anthropological Approaches. vol. 41, Bloomsbury , pp. 349-366.
- Mills, M 2004, Living in Time's Shadow: Pollution, Purification and Fractured Temporalities in Buddhist Ladakh. in Qualities of Time, ed. W.James & D.Mills. ASA Monograph 41. Oxford: Berg.. Qualities of Time, ed. W.James & D.Mills. ASA Monograph 41. Oxford: Berg., pp. 349-366.
- Mills, M 2003, Identity, Ritual and State in Tibetan Buddhism: The Foundations of Authority in Gelukpa Monasticism. Studies in Tantric Traditions, RoutledgeCurzon.
- Mills, M 2003, This Turbulent Priest: Contesting Religious Rights and the State in the Tibetan Shugden Controversy. in RA Wilson & JP Mitchell (eds), Human Rights in Global Perspective: : Anthropological Studies of Rights, Claims and Entitlements. ASA Monographs , vol. 40, Routledge, pp. 54-70.
- Mills, M 2000, 'Vajra-brother, Vajra-Sister: Renunciation, Individualism and the Household in Tibetan Buddhist Monasticism', Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 17-34. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9655.t01-1-00002
- Mills, M 1998, 'In the Presence of the Teacher: Incarnate Lamas in Tibetan Buddhism', Cosmos, pp. 179-209.
- Mills, M 1997, The Religion of Locality: Local Area Gods and the Characterisation of Tibetan Buddhism. in T Dodin & H Rather (eds), Recent Research on Ladakh 7: Proceedings of the 7th Colloquium of the International Association for Ladakh Studies, Bonn/Sankt Augustin, 12-15th June 1995. Recent Research on Ladakh, M. Bernecker und B. Krause , Bonn, Germany, pp. 309-328.