I am a socio-cultural anthropologist working in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, India, and China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region. My 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 an ethnography of “post-conflict” state restructuring in Nepal, and an exploration of trans-Himalayan citizenship across the historical and contemporary borders of India, China, and Nepal.
My forthcoming 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.
I have also published several articles on the themes of Nepal’s Maoist movement; ethnic classification, affirmative action, and the politics of recognition in South Asia; and borders and citizenship in the Himalaya. I am 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 my ethnographic methodology, and I am a founding member of the Digital Himalaya Project. I am also the Faculty Coordinator of the Yale Himalaya Initiative, and the Director of Undergraduate Studies for South Asian Studies.
To learn more about my research, please click here.