In Medicine and Memory in Tibet, Theresia Hofer presents several years of ethnographic work in Tsang, particularly Ngamring, engaging three generations of amchi physicians from the most significant Tsang Mentrong—literally, “Medical Houses,” hosting a specific group, family, or lineage of Tibetan medical doctors—and historic monastic practices. She extends the Lévi-Straussian concept of the house as a form of social organization to broaden and sharpen scholarship on Tibetan medical knowledge transmission, for which Tsang Mentrong played a fundamental role outside the large, central medical institutions in pre-1950 central Tibet. She shows how though Mentrong amchi formed the majority of Tibetan physicians at this time, they became marginalized in both formalized policies and academic analysis due to exclusion from centralized government-supported entities and official narratives of Sowa Rigpa, or the “Science of Healing,” as Tibetan medicine is known.

Skillfully conducting an “ethnography of historicity” (p. 15), Hofer engages these...

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