Digital Public Defence: Nianggajia

MPhil Nianggajia  at Institute of Health and Society will be defending the thesis “Patients of Tibetan Medicine in Multiethnic Rebgong: Exploring Locality, Trust, and Culture” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

Click here to participate in the public defence

Download Zoom here

Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Samuel, Cardiff University, UK
  • Second opponent: Associate Professor Barbara Gerke, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Kari Nyheim Solbrække, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Ragnhild Hellesø, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Associate Professor Heidi E. Fjeld, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo


Tibetan medicine, also known as Sowa Rigpa (i.e., the science of healing) was traditionally the medicine indigenous to Tibetan peoples across the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau. Historically, etiology, nosology, treatments and training have been closely connected to Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan language and environments. The last four decades of commercialization have brought Tibetan medical drugs, experts and institutions to new patient groups and markets. This thesis investigates some of the ways in which Tibetan medicine is moved out of the Tibetan communities and transcends cultural and ethnic boundaries in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) today. Focusing on users of Tibetan medicine in Rebgong, a multiethnic border area known to Tibetans as Amdo and located in the Qinghai province, the study explores and analyzes how Tibetan medicine is perceived and used by Tibetan and non-Tibetan patients. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, combining a survey with interviews, participant observation of clinical meetings, and analyses of medical texts, the thesis presents the first in-depth study to investigate the use of Tibetan medicine among non-Tibetans in contemporary PRC. 

Additional information

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Published June 2, 2021 10:52 AM - Last modified June 16, 2021 10:15 AM