Join us for two talks on Nepal-related topics by anthropologists and scholars of Nepal and the Himalayas, Prof. Mark Turin. and Prof. Sara Shneiderman. Mark Turin is chair of the First Nations Languages Program and Associate Professor of Anthropology at UBC. Both have worked in Nepal for more than 20 years and are actively engaged in research projects in rural areas and Sara Shneiderman is Associate Professor in Anthropology and the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia.
Speaker Bio: Sara Shneiderman
Sara Shneiderman is a socio-cultural anthropologist working in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, India, and Chinas Tibetan Autonomous Region, and serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology as well as in UBCs new School of Public Policy and Global Affairs/Institute of Asian Research. Her research explores the relationships between political discourse, ritual action, and cross-border mobility in producing ethnic identities and shaping social transformation. Current research projects include a new transdisciplinary partnership focused on Nepals post-earthquake reconstruction; an ethnography of post-conflict state restructuring in Nepal that focuses on lived experiences of citizenship, territory and religiosity since 2006; an exploration of trans-Himalayan citizenship across the historical and contemporary borders of India, China, and Nepal; participation in a University of Toronto-based project on infrastructure and development in Nepals agrarian districts; and collaboration in a Yale University-based project on urbanization and land use change in the Himalayas. In the wake of Nepals April and May 2015 earthquakes, she was engaged in relief efforts focused on rural areas, and continues to participate in public debate and practice in this domain.
Prof. Shneiderman's first book is titled Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India. An ethnography focusing on the cross-border circulation of Thangmi people and their ideas about ethnic, national, religious and political identity, Rituals of Ethnicity offers new explanations for the powerful persistence of ethnicity as a category of identification today despite the increasing realities of mobile, translocal lives. The book is based on over a decade of ethnographic research with diverse members of the Thangmi community in the Dolakha and Sindhupalchok districts of central-eastern Nepal, as well as in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India, and the neighboring state of Sikkim. All royalties from the sale of the book will be donated to organizations supporting Thangmi communities of Dolakha and Sindhupalchok to rebuild after the earthquakes devastated their villages.
She has also published several articles on the themes of Nepals Maoist movement; ethnic classification, affirmative action, and the politics of recognition in South Asia; and borders and citizenship in the Himalaya. Prof. Shneiderman is currently preparing another manuscript that presents Thangmi ritual texts in Nepali and English translation. This is a collaborative project with an indigenous Thangmi researcher, a Nepali translator, and a linguistic anthropologist.
Multimedia technologies are at the core of her ethnographic methodology, and she is a founding member of the Digital Himalaya Project.
Prof. Shneiderman received her PhD (2009) and MA (2004) from Cornell University, following a BA with Honors from Brown University in both Anthropology and Religious Studies (1997). Before coming to UBC she was an Assistant Professor in Anthropology and South Asian Studies at Yale University from 2011-2014, and a Research Fellow at St Catharines College, University of Cambridge, from 2009-2011. Her research has been funded by the Fulbright Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the American Council of Learned Societies/Mellon Foundation, the British Academy, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the UBC Hampton Fund.
At UBC, she serves on the Steering Committee of the UBC Himalaya Program and as Co-Director of the Centre for India and South Asia Research. In 2017-2018 she is the Wall Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, and coordinator for a UBC Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) grant to further develop the Himalaya Programs community-engaged language courses in Nepali and Tibetan, and related interdisciplinary course offerings in Himalayan Studies.