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Nepal and Himalayan Studies Conference

Nepal and Himalayan Studies at Cornell: Community Engagement, Knowledge Circulation, and the Future of Scholarship

On April 28-29 2017, the Cornell South Asia Program will host a conference on Nepal and Himalayan Studies at Cornell: Community Engagement, Knowledge Circulation, and the Future of Scholarship. This event develops a broad view of Himalayan Studies, bringing attention not only to Nepal, but also India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Tibet and China.

The conference has three overlapping goals. First, the conference provides an opportunity to take stock of important recent developments in research on Nepal and Himalayan Studies. Second, we will use this occasion to develop a collaborative conversation about how to protect and further develop these fields of study in North America and beyond. Third – in the context of the recent retirement of Kath March and David Holmberg (Cornell Anthropology) – this gathering will fete the many accomplishments of Kathryn March, David Holmberg, Shambhu Oja (Nepali Senior Lecturer, Cornell Asian Studies), and Banu Oja (Cornell Nepal Study Program)

The conference is co-sponsored by Mario Enaudi Center for International Studies, the Office of the Vice-Provost for International Affairs, Cornell Abroad, the Department of Anthropology, and the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies. 

All events are free and open to the public, though we encourage participants to register for the conference.


FRIDAY, APRIL 28 (Kahin Center, 640 Stewart Avenue) 9:00 a.m.-4:15 p.m.

Opening Remarks 9:00-9:30 a.m. 

Anne Blackburn (Director, South Asia Program, Cornell University)

Laura Spitz (Vice Provost for International Affairs, Cornell University)

Hirokazu Miyazaki (Director, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell University)

Dilli Ram Upreti (Registrar, Tribhuvan University)


Environments of Health, Development, and Infrastructure 9:45-11:30 a.m. 

Sienna Craig (Anthropology, Dartmouth College) - Beyond "Tradition" and "Modernity": Landscapes of Healing in the Himalaya

Pasang Yangjee Sherpa (Anthropology, New School) - How Do Nepalis Experience Climate Change?

David Citrin (Anthropology and Global Health, University of Washington) - Public-Private Entanglements: Global Health Assemblages and the Right to Healthcare in Nepal 

Katharine Rankin (Geography and Planning, University of Toronto) - Political Economies and Political Rationalities of Road Building in Nepal: Notes from the Archives

Chair: Anindita Banerjee (Comparative Literature, Cornell University) 


Political and Social Transformations 12:30-2:15 p.m.         

Amanda Snellinger (South Asian Studies, University of Washington) - Loyalty and Voice: Affective and Pragmatic Interventions in Parsa, Nepal

Cabeiri Robinson (International Studies, University of Washington) - Making Azad Kashmir Safe for Tourists: Disaster, Humanitarianism, and the Emergence of a Tourist Industry in Northern Pakistan

Mahendra Lawoti (Political Science, Western Michigan University) - Participation and Regression: Electing Constituent Assemblies but Disregarding Democratic Processes in Constitution Writing in Nepal

Philippe Ramirez (Centre for Himalayan Studies, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris) - We Are Different but We Are the Same: Trans-ethnic Descent and Conversions in North-East India

Chair: Allen Carlson (Government, Cornell University)


Citizenship, Belonging, and Mobility 2:30-4:15 p.m. 

Mukta Tamang (Anthropology, Tribhuvan University) - Belonging and Tamang Social Organization of Rhui

Heather Hindman (Asian Studies and Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin & President, Association of Nepal and Himalayan Studies) - What is Nepal?: Diaspora, Academia and Boundaries

Carole McGranahan (Anthropology, University of Colorado-Boulder) - Becoming Canadian, Remaining Tibetan: Asylum Journeys from South Asia to North America

Sara Shneiderman (Anthropology and Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia) - “Nagarikta-ko subidha”: Nepali Theories and Practices of Citizenship

Chair: Durba Ghosh (History, Cornell University)


Keynote (374 Rockefeller Hall) 5:00-6:15 p.m.

Michael Hutt (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) - Does Place Still Matter?: The Case for Nepal Studies

Introduction: Gretchen Ritter (Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences, Cornell University)

(Reception to follow in 231 Rockefeller Hall)


SATURDAY, APRIL 29 (Kahin Center, 640 Stewart Avenue) 8:45 a.m.-6:30 p. m.

Morning Roundtable: Institution Building for Himalayan Studies 8:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 

Chair: Mark Turin (Anthropology, University of British Columbia)


Session One 8:45-10:15 a.m.

Ashok Gurung (Senior Director, India China Institute, New School)

Carole McGranahan (Anthropology, University of Colorado-Boulder)

Philippe Ramirez (Centre for Himalayan Studies, CNRS, Paris)

Bronwen Bledsoe (Kroch Library, Cornell University)

Michael Hutt (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)


Session Two 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Heather Hindman (Asian Studies and Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin & President, Association of Nepal and Himalayan Studies)

Dilli Ram Upreti (Registrar, Tribhuvan University)

David Citrin (Anthropology and Global Health, University of Washington) 

Toby Volkman (Director of Policy Initiatives, Luce Foundation)

Shambhu Oja (Asian Studies, Cornell University)

David Holmberg (Anthropology, Cornell University)


Afternoon Roundtable: Ethics of Engagement, Collaboration, and Reciprocity 1:15-4:30 p.m.

Chair: Mukta Tamang (Anthropology, Tribhuvan University)


Session One 1:15-2:45 p.m

Marina Markot (Director, Cornell Abroad)

Kristen Grace (Associate Director, Cornell Abroad)

Laya Uprety (Anthropology, Tribhuvan University)

Ken Bauer (Anthropology, Dartmouth College)

Dambar Chemjong (Anthropology, Cornell University)

James Lassoie (Natural Resources, Cornell University)


Session Two 3:00-4:30 p.m

Katharine Rankin (Geography and Planning, University of Toronto)

Bandita Sijapati (Social Science Baha, Kathmandu)

Sharon Tennyson (Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, Cornell University)

Banu Oja (Asian Studies, Cornell University)

Austin Lord (Anthropology, Cornell University)

Kathryn March (Anthropology, Cornell University)


Keynote (Kahin Center) 5:00-6:30 p.m.

Bandita Sijapati (Social Science Baha, Kathmandu) in conversation with Mark Turin (Anthropology, University of British Columbia) - Alliances and Complexities in Nepal’s Research Landscape: Migration, Policy and Scholarship

Introductions: Max J. Pfeffer (Senior Associate Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University)