Martin Hanker

Martin Hanker

PhD student and librarian

Charles University


I am a PhD student of History and Cultures of Asian and African Countries at the Institute of Asian Studies, Charles University (Prague), where I previously graduated with honours in Tibetan Studies (2018). My work focuses on the role of contemporary Tibetan popular and folk music within the broader framework of socio-cultural life. Above all, I am interested in the lyrics – the innovation of poetic tools and language in relation to the identity discourse. From the theoretical standpoint, my research hinge on the concepts of authenticity and place-making. Thus, in my dissertation I explore the traces of orality in Tibetan rap lyrics. Besides, as a follow-up research stemming from my MA thesis, I also investigate the corpus of Tibetan craniological manuals which had originally brought my attention to the use of digital tools in humanities.

Since 2018, I have worked for the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences as an editor-in-chief of an online Tibetan-English-Czech dictionary (currently in beta) and a cataloguist of Tibetan manuscripts, xylographs, and newspapers. Furthermore, as a librarian and junior research assistant, I have been responsible for the Tibetan collection at my alma mater since 2016. I am also one of the founding members and current president of the Czech Association of Orientalists Orientalistic Express which aims to support cross-disciplinary cooperation, research popularisation and provides fact-checking on demand. Receiving a scholarship from the Anglo-Czech Educational Fund in 2019 enabled me to become a Recognised Student at the University of Oxford where I was focused on advancing my skills in research design and qualitative methodology. Earlier the same year, I partook a CEEPUS internship at the Wiener Universität where I attended lectures on TEI principles and XML encoding. My research was repeatedly supported by the Charles University, including funding of two field research trips to Mustang (Nepal) and Dharamsala (India).

In 2019, I have co-authored an open access e-monograph called Chapters from life of Tibetans (in English) and published several articles (in Czech) throughout the years. My participation in international conferences included e.g. the 17th Annual Conference of the European Association for the Study of Religions (Tartu) or the 19th colloquium Orientalia Antiqua Nova (Pilsen). In 2019, I organised a student conference for PhD students of Asian studies from all Czech universities. Throughout the years, I gave multiple public lectures on various Tibet-related topics, namely at the One World Festival or as part of the TGSS at the Faculty of Oriental Studies in Oxford.


  • Tibetophone rap lyrics
  • Tibetan oral poetry and music
  • Tibetan craniological manuals
  • Identity discourse
  • Digital Humanities
  • Social space theory
  • Bibliometrics and CDA


  • Recognised Student in Research Methods for Area Studies – Qualitative Methods, 2019

    University of Oxford, OSGA

  • MA in Philology – Tibetan Studies, 2018

    Charles University, Faculty of Arts

  • BA in Philology – Tibetan Studies, 2015

    Charles University, Faculty of Arts

Work Experience

Here is a list of my past and current employments and other paid positions.


International Applicants and Students Advisor

Charles University: Rectorate, CU Point, Information and Services for International Students

Mar 2021 – Present

Academic consultant

IKAR Publ.

Jan 2021 – Mar 2021 Bratislava
I contributed to the Slovakian edition of HH 14th dalai lama’s biography entitled Dalajlama: Nevšedný príbeh written by Alexander Norman. Besides editing and translating, my responsibilities were primarily fact-checking and providing critical remarks regarding the historical and cultural context.

Academic consultant and co-editor

SlovArt Publ.

Jul 2020 – Oct 2020
I consulted for the Czech and Slovakian editions of HH 14th dalai lama’s biography entitled Jeho Svatost čtrnáctý dalajlama, ilustrovaný životopis written by Tendzin G. Tethong. My responsibilities were primarily fact-checking and providing critical remarks regarding the historical and cultural context but I also co-edited parts of the text and prepared all the commentaries, footnotes and online resources (index).

Editor-in-chief of online dictionary

Czech Academy of Sciences: Oriental Institute

May 2018 – Nov 2021
I joined this project led by Jarmila Ptáčková. Its aim was to create the first online Czech-Tibetan-English dictionary with example senteces (currently in beta). Besides translating and editing the entries, my responsibility included extending the feature set together with proposing specific technical implementations (e.g. using Czech and English WordNets to enhance the POS tagging, sourcing the example sentences from a newely scraped corpus using NLP).

Lecturer of Tibetan language

Jazyková škola Hana Jirásková

Mar 2018 – Present
I am teaching introductory Tibetan courses both in-person and online. Although courses are tailored to fit the individual needs of every student, we usually start with an introduction to the literary/classical language first and then go forward to learning the Lhasa dialect. I tend to include a little bit of cultural knowledge into the curriculum and recommend some additional reading based on the student’s interests.

Cataloguist of Tibetan collection

Czech Academy of Sciences: Oriental Institute

Sep 2017 – Dec 2017
I worked on the Tibetan manuscripts and xylographs from the library’s archive, cataloguing them into the ALEPH system using MARC21 under the RDA guidelines. In 2019, I also helped with the digitalisation and catalogisation of the Tibetan newspapers from the 50s/60s into the Kramerius digital library.

Junior research assistant

Charles University: Faculty of Arts, Institute of Asian Studies

Feb 2017 – Present

I take care of the institute’s website (WordPress) and Facebook profile both technically and content wise, incl. copywriting, graphic design and coding (HTML). I help to organise various events from lectures to conferences (e.g. for the 2022 Seminar of the International Association of Tibetan Studies I supervised the PR incl. all communication, assisted with the conference software and cultural programme, set up and administered the website and newsletter etc.). Furthermore, I also taught several courses:

  • Introduction to Tibetan language (part of Spoken Lhasa Tibetan course),
  • Orientalism after Said,
  • Academic practices and resources (part of Introduction to academia course),
  • and Intensive Tibetan language course (under the Library of Languages).


Charles University: Faculty of Arts, Institute of Asian Studies, Library of Tibetan and Mongolian Studies

Oct 2015 – Aug 2022
I managed the institute’s library containing approx. 3000 volumes in Tibetan, English, Czech, French, and German. In 2021, our university switched from ALEPH to ALMA integrated solution. I am familiar with MARC21 and RDA guidelines. I regularly order new books in accordance with the library vision for its future expansion.

Co-founder, operation manager

Dharmasala s.r.o.

May 2013 – May 2017
I co-founded the Tibetan tearoom and supervised the project from its earliest stage (from interior design to supliers and HR). Then I worked as an operation manager and aided the development of its subsidary projects Momos bistro and ICE TEA bar. Besides, I also worked as an event manager supervising festivals, catering services, and other miscellaneous events (lectures, concerts etc.). My responsibilities included marketing campaigns, copywriting, graphic design, proofreading, crowdfunding, payrolls etc.


Mobility and fellowships with associated scholarship or other type of funding

Research Methods for Area Studies: Qualitative Methods

Attending lectures during the Michaelmas term (2019) dedicated to various qualitative research methods. Participating on the Tibetan studies curriculum. Supervised by prof. Nayanika Mathur.

Opportunity provided by Charles University (Institute for the Study of Strategic Regions). Financial support provided by Anglo-Czech Educational Fund.

Digital Tibetology

Attending lectures on working with manuscripts in digital era (TEI principles, XML encoding, CSS, HTML). Finishing a follow-up reseach on my MA thesis.

Via CEEPUS, CIII-CZ-0011-14-1819-M-125847 (Study of Religions): The Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education & Research (OeAD-GmbH), Centre for International Cooperation and Mobility (ICM).


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