An anthropologist specialising in Tibetan societies, Fernanda has used her research into legal practices and legal codes to develop the anthropology of law. Presented in The Anthropology of Law (OUP, 2013), her approach builds on themes and debated developed in the Legalism research group, which she convenes with colleagues in anthropology and history. It is the basis for continuing research in to Tibetan legal history, as well as related issues, such as comparison in law and anthropology and the relationship between empirical studies and legal theory.
Fernanda is currently working on Legal Ideology in Tibet: Politics, Practice, and Religion, an AHRC-funded project on the legal history of medieval Tibet.
Qualifications DPhil in Social Anthropology (Oxford) 2002 MSc in Social Anthropology (UCL) 1998 Called to the Bar 1988 BA in French and Philosophy (Oxford) 1986
- DOI: 10.1017/jlr.2017.42Tibet is distinct within the Buddhist regions of Asia for its claims to have developed religious laws. The rulers of its early empire—or so it is claimed by the writers of Tibetan historical narratives—civilized their people by creating laws on the basis of Buddhist principles. In fact, the earliest Tibetan laws were not linked in any significant way with Buddhist principles, even after the religion had been firmly established in the region. The more ideological account of Buddhist law found in later narratives was only developed as the structures of the empire were collapsing. The paper asks why and how the idea of Buddhist law first emerged, examining its development through a number of texts from the empire (sixth to ninth centuries) and the immediate post-imperial period (tenth to twelfth centuries). Their accounts of law-making were far from consistent, but they do seem to have resonated with at least one, tenth-century ruler. These narratives set the scene for a long series of historical accounts, in which the idea that Tibetan law was based on Buddhist principles took hold, and which was maintained well into the twentieth century.
Anthropology of law; Tibetan law and legal practices; Legalism; The English Bar