Trading Caterpillar Fungus in Tibet. When Economic Boom Hits Rural Area

01 July 2019

New title from Amsterdam University Press:
Trading Caterpillar Fungus in Tibet. When Economic Boom Hits Rural Area

Emilia Roza Sulek

Amsterdam University Press
Series: Global Asia / ISBN: 9789462985261
Release date: 16 July 2019

Caterpillar fungus, often called the Himalayan Viagra, is the subject of the latest commodity boom changing the economic fates of Tibetan pastoralists in China. This expensive medicinal resource made a spectacular market career in East Asia after the outbreak of avian influenza and SARS. Growing demand for this 'wonder drug' created attractive income opportunities for people on the Tibetan plateau where this fungus is endemic. Tibetan pastoralists engaged in this new 'gold rush' and turned from subsistence-oriented yak and sheep breeders living in a cash-poor environment into local economic elite. This book tells a story of successful pastoralists high on the Tibetan plateau who take advantage of the economic boom in the Chinese market to accomplish their own goals. They emerge as far more sophisticated actors than most outsiders would give credit to before reading this book.

Emilia Roza Sulek, born and educated in Warsaw, received a Ph.D. from Humboldt University of Berlin, has been a visiting fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies in Leiden and teaches at the Universities of Zürich and Bern. Her fields of interest include pastoral societies, economic and political anthropology, oral history and identity-making.

Her next book project is a collection of anthropological short prose based on her many years of fieldwork in Tibet.

Order at: trading-caterpillar-fungus-in-tibetibet