Panels

This page is devoted to panels proposed for the 3rd ANHS Himalayan Studies Conference to be held at Yale University, New Haven Connecticut, Friday 14 – Sunday 16 March 2014.

The deadline for all panel proposals was 30 September. Conveners will be notified by 31 October whether their panel has been accepted. All panelists presenting papers are required to send a 300-word abstract to the organizing committee and their panel convener by 30 November 2013.

101: Beyond Documentation: Photography in the Field
102: Citizenship, Political Subjectivity, and the State
103: Communities and Agrarian Environments
104: Conservation Policies, Social Ecologies, and Community Practices in Bhutan
105:
Constructing Communities: Tradition, Modernity and Migration
106: Defining and Contesting Language and Community in the Himalayas
107: Development and Change in the Himalaya
109: Ethnic Communities in Transition on the Sino-Tibetan Border
110: Expressive Practices and Material Culture in Transforming Nepali Communities
111: Governance, Identity and Ethnicity in the Himalaya
113: Himalayan Ummah: Global and Local Muslim Community in the Himalayas
114: Histories of Himalayan Buddhism
115: Human Ecology in the Himalaya
116: Laboring in the Himalayas: Critical Perspectives
117: Modernization and the Revisiting of Tradition in Tibetan regions
119: Nepal in Transition
121: New Directions in Human-Environment Relationships in the Himalayas
122: People and Environment in the Greater Himalaya
124: Power Dynamics and Spatial Authority in South Asia
125: Reframing Intersections of Global/Local in Contemporary Nepali Art
126: Representation of the Himalayas in Films and Media
128: Sacred Landscapes and Symbolic Locations in the Himalaya
129: Sessions in Honor of Dr. Barbara Brower’s Contributions to Himalayan Studies and to the ANHS
130: Sessions in Honor of P.P. Karan’s Life of Himalayan Scholarship
133: Tracing a Nation: Bhutanese Identities in Object, Text and Practice
134: Translating Medical Ideas across Himalayan Communities of Sowa Rigpa Medical Practitioners,Past and Present
_______________________

101: Beyond Documentation:  Photography in the Field
Convener: Rob Linrothe, Northwestern University

This panel in two sessions features papers on critical studies of photographic practices in the Himalayas.  Photography has been part of the apparatus of scholarship on the Himalayas since the mid-nineteenth century.  The assumed “truth value” of photographs led to an unquestioned, self-evidentiary approach to the photograph as document, a sentiment that remains alive and well.  Photography is still employed by anthropologists, geographers, art historians, artists and, well, photographers, but not always in apparently straightforward ways.  Photographs, old and new, have been creatively employed by the peoples of the Himalayas in ways that merit critical attention, even as scholars are reflexively reviewing their own practices.  The papers in the two linked panels include discussions of the early history of photography in particular regions, the changing patterns of the circulation and use of photographs and other visual reproduction or printing technology within the Himalayas, repeat photography as a method to investigate climate change or development, the impact of photography on art and aesthetics, unmasking the staged nature of historical photographs generally accepted for their indexical relation to “reality”, photographic practice by researchers and professional photographers as a kind of intervention in and collaboration with Himalayan societies, and the effects provoked in local communities of the reintroduction of colonial photographs by outside researchers.

Session I:
Chair: Rob Linrothe, Northwestern University

David Zurick, Eastern Kentucky University
Marcus Nüsser, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University
Clare Harris, University of Oxford

Session II:
Chair: Clare Harris, University of Oxford

Rob Linrothe, Northwestern University 
Kevin Bubriski, Green Mountain College
Melissa Kerin, Washington and Lee University
Patrick Sutherland, University of the Arts London
_______________________

102: Citizenship, Political Subjectivity, and the State
Conveners: Carole McGranahanUniversity of Colorado, and Abraham ZablockiAgnes Scott College

This panel addresses issues of citizenship and political subjectivity in contemporary Himalayan and Himalayan diaspora communities. Massive political change in the last century—wars, the creation of new states, the closing of long-open borders, shifts in political regimes, demands for political recognition, demands for territory, multiple refugee crises, the need for identity documents, the inability to gain such documents, and more—are not just the stuff the states, but also the realities of individuals and communities in everyday life. Despite the hardening of borders between Himalayan states in the twentieth century, we contend that ideas of citizenship and political subjectivity often extend beyond state borders, linking communities in disparate countries in new and important ways. We invite papers addressing the ways that communities engage with the state(s) in ways both expressive and formative of political subjectivities. What sort of commentary can the experiences of individual communities offer on the state of citizenship and political possibility in the contemporary Himalayas? How do ideas about political belonging cultivated in one region of the Himalayas shift upon moving to a new locale, a new state, be it in Asia or elsewhere in the world? Given what we thought we knew about 20th century political community—e.g., the received academic wisdom about the modern nation-state—what changes are we seeing in these first decades of the 21st century?

Session I:

Piya Chatterjee, University of California at Riverside
Peter Hansen,Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Laura Kunreuther, Bard College
Carole McGranahan, University of Colorado

Session II:

Tina Shrestha, Cornell University
Abraham Zablocki, Agnes Scott College

Discussant: Sara Shneiderman, Yale University
_______________________

103: Communities and Agrarian Environments
Convener: Nayna Jhaveri, Independent Researcher

This panel focuses on how communities within agrarian environments in Nepal engage with emerging institutional, planning and ecological conditions. On the one hand, the post-conflict transition period has had profound implications for the structure of institutions and governance. The demands for equality, rights and justice now have become clearly embedded within political discourses such that governance systems are responding to the claims of new sets of marginalized groups including women, Dalits and janajatis. The configuration of local planning systems in rural areas are therefore changing with greater levels of participatory approaches resulting in new membership of public spaces. Similarly, community forestry has developed a strong legitimacy as a democratic, participatory form of natural resource governance within villages. Rather than simply working towards improving forest cover, they are now increasingly (since the 10th Five Year Plan) moving towards addressing the social dimensions by supporting pro-poor, and pro-women interventions. In addition to mixed-gender community forestry user groups, we have also seen the emergence of women-only community forestry user groups with a distinctively different experience of transparency, accountability, and effectiveness within its governance arrangements. At the national level, too, the language of “climate justice” has newly entered into climate change policy calling for rural interventions that help support those who are most vulnerable to climate change. Precisely how this is being put into action requires close attention. In the context of significant environmental transformations, the move towards organic farming and tree planting on farms has led to the rise of new wildlife activity such as the arrival of new birds and growth of slugs that in turn, have impinged on the selection of farming practices. This demonstrates how ecologically interlinked the fixed spaces of individual farms and the wider common landscapes are with actions in one domain producing multiple ramifications at large.

Presenters:

Sharad Ghimire, Martin Chautari
Nayna Jhaveri, Independent Researcher

Discussant: Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University
_______________________

104: Conservation Policies, Social Ecologies, and Community Practices in Bhutan
Convener: Galen MurtonUniversity of Colorado at Boulder

Bhutan is internationally recognized for its unique conservation agenda and rigorous implementation of environmental policy. However, a disjuncture exists between the vision of national policy and the reality of local practice. This disconnect is displayed on the ground by conflictual human-wildlife relations, problems with forestry management plans, and obstacles to payment for environmental services (PES). Furthermore, although leadership in Bhutan remains steadfastly committed to preservation of the natural environment, local experiences increasingly call for a more critical assessment of the imbalance between ecological conservation standards and socio-economic development opportunities (Penjore 2008).

Taking environmental policy and practice as a starting point, this panel seeks to deepen the discussion on human-environment relations in Bhutan. The session welcomes papers and presentations on a broad range of topics including, but not limited to: Community and Private Forestry; Sacred Geography; Natural Resource Management; Climate Change Adaptation; Gross National Happiness; Payment for Environmental Services; Religion, Development, and the Environment; and Environmental Education. We particularly welcome junior and international scholars as well as researchers from Bhutan and the greater Himalaya.

Session I:
Community Forestry and Private Forestry in Bhutan: Practices, Policies, Challenges, and Opportunities

Wangchuk Dorji, Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment
Sarah Brattain, Boston University & Aanchal SarafBrown University
Laura Yoder, Wheaton College

Discussant: Hilary Faxon, Yale University

Session II:
Development and Environment in Bhutan: National Policy, International Trade, and Global Frameworks

Kunzang Kunzang, Yale University
Matt Branch, Pennsylvania State University
Ritodhi Chakraborty, University of Wisconsin

Discussant: Tshewang Wangchuk, Bhutan Foundation
______________________

105: Constructing Communities: Tradition, Modernity and Migration
Chair: Mary Cameron, Florida Atlantic University

This panel discusses how tradition, modernity and migration intersect to construct communities and frame membership. The papers focus on media, migration and cross-cultural encounters, and the ways in which these work to redefine communities.

Session I:

Andrea Butcher, University of Exeter
Christie Lai Ming Lam, Osaka University
Mahendra Lawoti, Western Michigan University
Sanjay K Nepal, University of Waterloo

Session II:

Binod Pokharel, Tribhuvan University
Kathryn StamSUNY Institute of Technology, Utica/Rome
Barbara Hypatia Grossman Thompson, University of Colorado at Boulder
Alana VehabaArizona State University
________________

106: Defining and Contesting Language and Community in the Himalayas
Convener: Miranda WeinbergUniversity of Pennsylvania

This panel explores the relationship between language and community in the Himalayas. From the legal level to more local definitions of community, there are complex relationships between language competence and community membership in the Himalayas. The papers in this panel present case studies from Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikkim that demonstrate the contested nature of belonging to language communities, and the centrality of language in disparate social movements across the region.

Language is often an element of movements that make claims about ethnicity and nationalism. These concerns are tied as well to imaginations of the past and aspirations for the future. The papers of this panel use ethnographic fieldwork and discourse analysis to investigate the role of language in political and social movements, and the nature of movements that take language as their theme. Together, we look at the role of language in the shaping of the Himalayan political landscape across time, space, and scales.

Session I:

Retika Rajbhandari, Syracuse University
Joseph Stadler, University of Buffalo
Ross Perlin, Endangered Language Alliance, New York
Miranda Weinberg, University of Pennsylvania

Session II:

Mara Green, University of California, Berkeley
Jana Fortier, University of California, San Diego

Discussant: Mark Turin, Yale University
_______________________

107: Development and Change in the Himalaya
Chair: Steven Folmar, Wake Forest University

This panel focuses on the theme of development as an intervention. The papers address how development is a contested ground for different stakeholders, how perceptions of socio-economic statuses are particular to the social ecologies of communities and the socio-cultural implications of development interventions. The panel also features papers that address local, community health initiatives across the Himalayan region. These papers explore local health choices, the co-existence of bio-medicine and traditional healing practices, and the role of community-based infrastructure in health care delivery.

Session I:

Sirkka Korpela, Tsinghua University
Sonam Lama, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization
Pushpa Hamal, Brock University, and Katherine Rankin, University of Toronto, 

Session II:

Sarah Rasmussen, Macalaster College
Catherine Sanders, The ISIS Foundation
Laura Spero, Eva Nepal
______________________

109: Ethnic Communities in Transition on the Sino-Tibetan Border
Convener: Tenzin JinbaYale University

This panel explores historical and ethnographic research on ethnic groups (including the Han) along the Sino-Tibetan borderlands (Sichuan, Qinghai, Yunnan, Gansu, etc). Topics include environment, livelihood, religion, culture, gender, identity, development, tourism, migration, memory reproductions, inter-or-intra-ethnic relations, collective resistance, NGOs and state-society relations.

Session I:

Jonathan Lipman, Mount Holyoke College
Xiuyu Wang, Washington State University
Benno Ryan Weiner, Appalachian State University
Huasha Zhang, Yale University            

Session II:

Tami Blumenfield, Furman University
Chris Coggins, Bard College at Simon’s Rock
Matthew S. Erie, Princeton University
Ming Xue, UCLA
Yinong Zhang, Shanghai University
______________________

110: Expressive Practices and Material Culture in Transforming Nepali Communities
Convener: Coralynn V. DavisBucknell University

How are long-standing expressive practices and forms of material life taken up in the processes and projects of community transformation? And conversely, how are the problems and possibilities of community transformation expressed and engaged through long-standing cultural forms and formats? The presenters in this double panel examine these questions through focus on diverse Nepali communities — in Nepal as well as in diaspora, as well as an array of practices, for example, songs, attire, folktales, “ethnic” restaurant dynamics, and temple building. While exploring the functions, forms, and expressive content of these contemporary practices, the presenters trace their cultural history as well as interface with such locally articulated but globally situated contemporary processes as migration, mass consumption, discourses of modernity, and secularization. Collectively, the panelists seek to understand how forms of expression and material life are engaged by their practitioners to navigate their reshaping worlds and subjectivities.

Session I:

Coralynn V. Davis, Bucknell University
Susan Hangen, Ramapo College
Mark Liechty, University of Illinois at Chicago
Kathryn March, Cornell University

Session II:

Sara Shneiderman, Yale University
Anna Stirr, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Galen Murton, University of Colorado at Boulder

Discussant: Mark Turin, Yale University
______________________

111: Governance, Identity and Ethnicity in the Himalaya
Chair: Heather Hindman, University of Texas at Austin

This panel explores relationships between marginalized communities and national frameworks of recognition. The papers focus on community interactions with, and experiences of, national politics in ongoing struggles for legitimacy and visibility.

Presenters:

Tulasi Acharya, Florida Atlantic University 
Chudamani Basnet, South Asian University, India
Kathleen M. Gallagher, St. Mary’s University
Andrew Nelson, University of North Texas
____________________

113: Himalayan Ummah: Global and Local Muslim Community in the Himalayas
Convener: Jacqueline H. FewkesFlorida Atlantic University

While concepts of the global, such as a worldwide Islamic ummah, are compelling social forces, Clifford Geertz has reminds us “no one lives in the world in general”, we all live “in some confined and limited stretch of it – ‘the world around here’” (Geertz 1996:262). Through the papers in this panel we will explore interactions between the concept of the general Islamic community, the ummah, and specific iterations of Muslim community/practice/experience in the Himalayan region. Varying notions of community in global and regional contexts may be concomitant and alternatively inform, constitute, and/or deconstruct each other. Examining this discursive process is valuable to understanding the concept of Muslim community from both global and regional perspectives.

This panel brings together scholars from multiple disciplines working with diverse Muslim communities in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Tibet. We address the range of Muslim experience within multiple sects of both the Sunni and Shi’a branches of communities, with both historical and contemporary perspectives. The papers explore the ways in which Muslim identity interacts with notions of regional community, provide an examination of the ways in which regional interactions and institutions shape the practices of being Muslim in specific areas, and work together to investigate the notion of the Himalayas as an Islamic space.

Participants in the panel aim to create a dialogue about concepts of the regional and global Muslim community that help to better develop our understanding of the topic. These studies of Islam in the Himalayan cultural settings illustrate interconnections between multiple cultural spheres of Muslim community. The Himalayan region provides us with a site of both geographic and cultural crossroads, where Muslim community is simultaneously constituted at multiple social levels, thus allowing panel participants to consider a wide range of local, national, and global interests while maintaining a focus on the localized experiences of real people.

Session I:

Opening remarks: History of Islam in the Himalayas
Megan Adamson Sijapati, Gettysburg College
Rohit Singh, University of California, Santa Barbara
Jacqueline H. Fewkes, Florida Atlantic University

Session II:

Katherine J. L. Miller, Reed College
Jonah Steinberg, University of Vermont

Discussant: Brian Spooner, University of Pennsylvania
_______________________

114: Histories of Himalayan Buddhism
Convener: Andrew QuintmanYale University, and Kurtis SchaefferUniversity of Virginia

The historical study of Buddhism in the Himalayas has developed significantly in the last several decades. The completion and cataloging of major collections of Himalayan Buddhist literature such as the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project, as well as similar ongoing efforts in Bhutan and elsewhere, have brought unprecedented resources for the study of history before the international scholarly community. Yet by and large scholars in different disciplines and in different national traditions of scholarship tend to work independently and with little interaction. This panel seeks to draw together scholars from a number of disciplines working on the history of Buddhism throughout the Himalayas, including social and institutional historians, art historians, literary specialists, and anthropologists whose work extends to historical periods. Contributors will report on ongoing research projects, and they will also be asked to address methodological concerns and productive trajectories for future research. What are the major documentary collections that require attention now, and how should they be approached. What is the role of field research in historical study today? What shared features do Tibetan-derived forms of Buddhism stretching from Arunachal Pradesh to Pakistan have in common with one another and with the traditions of other Himalayan cultural groups (Newars, middle-hills Nepalis, etc.). How should these commonalities and divergences structure research? How can distinctive areas of research—art history, architectural history, social and cultural history, literary history and so forth—best be synthesized in interesting and productive ways. What emerging technologies should be utilized in the field? In asking panelists to address issues of broad methodological concern in the context of their own work, we hope to focus a sense of collective scholarly enterprise in the study of Himalayan Buddhism.

Session I:

Benjamin Wood, St. Francis College
Sarah Richardson, University of Toronto
Elizabeth Monson, Harvard University
John Ardussi, Independent Scholar

Session II:

Kurtis Schaeffer, University of Virginia
Andrew Quintman, Yale University
Annabella PitkinColumbia University
Todd Lewis, Holy Cross
_______________________

115: Human Ecology in the Himalaya
Chair: Jana Fortier, University of California San Diego 

This panel explores different modes of human-environment interactions across the Himalayan region. Themes include the role of non-governmental organizations in wildlife conservation, heritage preservation, land-labor relations, environmental governmentality, food sovereignty, agriculture policy and ethnobotany.

Session I:

Rachel Devi Amtzis, National University of Singapore
Shaunna Barnhart, Allegheny College
Bhuwan Dhakal, University of Flordia

Session II:

Yufang Gao, Yale University
Prabha Sharma, University of Delhi
Ramesh Sunam, The Australian National University
_____________________

116: Laboring in the Himalayas: Critical Perspectives
Conveners: Mona BhanDePauw, and Debarati SenKennesaw State University

This panel explores the relationship between place making, labor and ecological formations in the Himalayas. It traces this triad in the context of shifting economic regimes and enduring continuities that have persisted through colonial and postcolonial times to produce specific forms of identities, labor practices, and place-based resistance. We are interested in exploring the ways Himalayan ecologies both shape and are shaped by political economic regimes of labor and resistance that might allow for a deeper understanding of the ways in which populations living in the Himalayas produce place, space, and society. Based on long term field-research the questions that the panel raises are the following: How do processes of place-making and labor intersect to shape self and subjectivities in the Himalayan borders? What are some unique features of the Himalayan environment (cultural, political, and ecological) that engender specific forms of labor regimes? How have particular labor practices within the region influenced ways of being, belonging and protest? How have continuities and changes in community labor practices affected the politics of identity formation and political mobilization?

Presenters:

Heather Hindman, University of Texas at Austin
Debarati Sen, Kennesaw State University
Mona Bhan, DePauw University
Austin Lord, Yale University

Discussant: Arjun Gunaratne, Macalester College
_______________________

117: Modernization and the Revisiting of Tradition in Tibetan regions
Convener: Ming XueUCLA

The process of modernization has been taking place in different Tibetan regions. However, modern ideologies do not necessarily replace traditional thoughts and beliefs. Through the interaction with modern societies, a traditional community may adapt to modernity to some extent, meanwhile revisit its tradition and re-evaluate the core value of its culture. What has changed and what has been preserved? This panel invites papers that examine the dynamic between tradition and modernity in contemporary Tibet. Examples include, but not limited to: how do Tibetans evaluate and practice traditional healing with the availability of western medicines? How do parents and children reconcile the conflict between formal education (generalist) and transmission of culture through apprenticeship (specialist)? How do craftsmen preserve the tradition of the ethnic art on one hand, and pursue its economic value on modern markets on the other hand? How do traditional beliefs (e.g. sacred mountains and lakes) affect the way in which people use their ecological resources? For this panel, Tibetan regions are loosely defined, including communities in India, Nepal, and China, etc.

Presenters:

Theresia Hofer, University of Oslo
Lijing Peng, National University of Ireland
Ming Xue, University of California, Los Angeles
Michelle Kleisath, University of Washington
_______________________

119: Nepal in Transition
Chair: Keshav Bhattarai, University of Central Missouri 

The papers in this panel explore post-conflict Nepal through the lens of constitution-writing, governance and citizenship. Topics include the state restructuring process and the changing experiences of what it means to be Nepali.

Session I:

Tatsuro Fujikura, Kyoto University
Pauline Limbu, Cornell University
Anne MockoConcordia College
Luke Wagner, Yale University

Session II:

Discussion of papers
____________________

121: New Directions in Human-Environment Relationships in the Himalayas
Conveners: Sarah Besky, University of Michigan, and Shaila Seshia Galvin, Williams College

The trans-Himalayan region has long been conceived as a unique contact zone between different cultural and religious influences, and between human communities and the natural environment.  The very landscape of the mountains, with their rifts, rivers, valleys, and peaks calls us to think about the more-than-human contact zones and communities that come into being across Himalayan regions. Understandings of these contact zones, and of human-environment relations in particular, have been marked by a range of perspectives – from those that emphasize degradation wrought by human communities to others that laud their ecological stewardship.  In this panel, we stretch the notion of contact to better understand not only the everyday experiences of life in Himalayan landscapes, but to also approach issues of community and community formation within a living landscape that includes plants – from rice, to tea, to foodstuffs – animals – including the iconic monkey guardians of mountain temples – and humans.

Presenters

Shaila Seshia Galvin, Williams College
Jayeeta Sharma, University of Toronto
Sarah Besky, University of Michigan
Radhika Govindrajan, University of Illinois

Discussant: Shafqat Hussain,Trinity College
_______________________

122: People and Environment in the Greater Himalaya
Convener: Teri AllendorfUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison

This set of panels will focus on human-environment relationships across the Himalaya.  We define this topic very broadly to include natural resources, protected areas, biodiversity, environmental policy, pollution, wildlife, indigenous knowledge and systems, population-environment, etc.  One of the intentions of this set of panels is to help create and promote a group of scholars focused on the environment but building on the strengths of an area studies context that this conference provides.

Session I: Linking Local to Extralocal
Chair: Geoff Childs, Washington University in St. Louis

Michelle O. Stewart, Amherst College
Geoff Childs, Washington University in St. Louis
Anobha Gurung, Yale University

Session II: Change, Adaptation, Resilience
Chair: Geoff Childs, Washington University in St. Louis

Hilary Faxon, Yale University
Carey Clouse, UMass Amherst
Gerald Roche, Uppsala University
Elizabeth Allison, California Institute of Integral Studies

Session III: Communities & Tourism
Chair: John Metz, Northern Kentucky University

John Zinda, Brown University
Alyssa Kaelin, University of Wyoming
Kishan Datta Bhatta, University of Hong Kong
Queeny Singh, GGS Indraprastha University
_______________________

124: Power Dynamics and Spatial Authority in South-Asia
Chair: Debarati Sen, Kennesaw State University

This panel focuses on dynamics of power between different actors in South Asia and the ways that this plays out in intra-regional co-operation and existence. Topic areas include hydro-power development, Nepal’s foreign policy towards Tibetan exiles and spatial authority in Mount Everest.

Presenters:

J. Mark Baker, Humboldt State University
Shae Frydenlund, University of Colorado Boulder
Sagar Rijal, Old Dominion University
____________________

125: Reframing Intersections of Global/Local in Contemporary Nepali Art
Convener: Dina Bangdel, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar

The panel explores the constructions of contemporaneity in the context of Nepali visual arts, and critically reframes issues of modernity that go beyond specifics of geopolitical borders and binaries of East/West, modern/tradition, and local/global.  The panel brings together in dialogue contemporary Nepali and American artists to explore their art practices as expressions of contemporary transcultural narratives of hybridity—in that the narratives locate Nepal as a particular imagined cultural space.  Is it this experience of place and identity that the artists negotiate with the notion of a “Third Space,”—the “in-betweenness” of locating the self and the other?  Or, do Nepali artists continue to negotiate with the cultural paradigm of Western post-modernisms? Such questions of global exchanges, narratives of contemporaneity, and “transmodernity” will be explored as a framework for positioning contemporary Nepali art.

Presenters:

Dina Bangdel, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar
Maureeen Drdak, Artist and Independent Scholar
Kathryn Hagy, Mount Mercy University
Ashmita Ranjit, Lasanaa Alternative Art Space, Kathmandu
_______________________

126: Representation of the Himalayas in Films and Media
Convener: Vivek SachdevaGuru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University

The Himalayas have always fascinated travelers, adventure seekers, mountaineers, spiritual seekers, photographers and filmmakers for their respective reasons. Geo-scientific theory of plate tectonics believes that the Himalayas came into being as result of the collision between Indo-Australian plates and Eurasian plates. Till date, different cultures can be seen meeting, interacting or even conflicting on the Himalayas. Some peaks of the Himalayas are sacred to Hinduism, some peaks are sacred to Buddhism; Pakistan, India and China are into conflict on certain areas of the Himalayas; Kashmir, Nepal, North-East (India), three important geo-political territories are also witnessing political insurgency and conflict. Latest tragedy in Uttrakhand brought the attention of the world towards the Himalayas and raised environmental concerns among people. It also raised questions about the damage mindless developmentalism, tourism and commercialism are doing to the environment.

This panel brings together papers from film and media scholars studying how the Himalayas have been represented in films and media as cultural spaces, as ethnographic spaces and as commodity spaces. The Scholars in the panel contextualize the role played by films and media in changing, shaping and influencing our attitude towards the Himalayas.

Presenters:

Vivek Sachdeva, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi
Manisha Gangahar, GGDSD College, Chandigarh
Ramnita Saini Sharda, Hans Raj Mahila Maha Vidyalaya, Jalandhar
Romita Ray, Syracuse University
_____________________

128: Sacred Landscapes and Symbolic Locations in the Himalaya
Chair: Jessica BirkenholtzUniversity of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

This panel explores the idea of the ‘sacred’ with regard to community building, group membership and environmental conservation among Himalayan communities.

Session I:

Jessica Birkenholtz, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Emily Yeh, University of Colorado at Boulder
Kate Hartmann, Harvard University
Katsuo Nawa, Harvard-Yenching Institute & The University of Tokyo
Lindsay Skog, University of Colorado at Boulder

Session II:

Discussion of papers
_____________________

129: Sessions in Honor of Dr. Barbara Brower’s Contributions to Himalayan Studies and to the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies
Conveners: John Metz, Lindsay Skog, and Pasang Sherpa

These two panels are designed to explore the key roles Barbara Brower has played in the ongoing study of the Sherpa communities and landscapes of Solu-Khumbu, Nepal and in the evolution and development of the Association of Nepal and Himalayan Studies. The first panel is a group of papers by scholars who are doing research that parallels or has been influenced by Dr. Brower’s academic work. The second panel brings together students and colleagues who have been directly affected by Barbara’s role as scholar, teacher, editor, and leader of ANHS.

Jim Fisher begins the first session with an overview of how Barbara’s research fits into the body of scholarship exploring the evolution of Sherpa interactions with their bio-physical environments. Second, Alton Byers will explain his recent project, as part of the Mountain Institute’s “Local Adaptation Plan of Action,” which trains Khumbu and other mountain communities to create institutions that will facilitate indigenous adaptations to climate change and prevent Glacial Lake Outburst Floods. Third, Ken Bauer will describe his studies of people-environment interactions on other borderlands of High Asia.  Finally, Pasang Sherpa summarizes Barbara’s contributions to the three major aspects of the socio-economic transformation of Sherpa society that Pasang identifies: tradition, tourism, transnationalism.

The second session explores Barbara’s more immediate impacts on students, colleagues, and ANHS. Lindsay Skog opens the session by outlining how Barbara’s efforts as scholar, mentor, editor, and educator have promoted the diversity of scholarship and advocacy that is unique to ANHS members. John Metz will sketch Dr. Brower’s roles in the evolution of ANHS as editor of the flagship journal Himalaya and as a key leader of the organization. Finally, testimonies of Barbara’s impacts on scholars, colleagues, and students who cannot attend will be presented via Skype, You-Tube, and written statements.

Session I:

Chair: John Metz, Northern Kentucky University
Jim Fisher, Carleton College
Ken Bauer, Dartmouth College
Alton Byers, The Mountain Institute
Pasang SherpaStanford University

Session II:

Chair: Pasang Sherpa, Stanford University
Lindsay Skog, University of Colorado
Broughton Coburn, Colorado College   
John Metz, Northern Kentucky University
_____________________

130: Sessions in Honor of P.P. Karan’s Life of Himalayan Scholarship
Convener: John Metz, Northern Kentucky University

No contemporary scholar has such a deep and wide knowledge of Himalayan landscapes and culture as the subject of these sessions, Dr. P.P. Karan.  For 60 years he has been visiting, photographing and describing the Himalaya and Tibet.  One of his current projects, Himalayan Landscapes, analyzes the photos he has taken over the last 6 decades to show the dynamic changes that are occurring. Dr. Karan’s first visit to Nepal was to meet his fellow Bihari, the Indian Ambassador to Nepal, but coincided with the overthrow of the Rana oligarchy, which he was able to watch unfold from the inside.  During the 1950s he also visited Lhasa, recording the region’s social and economic characteristics before the Chinese invasion. As a young PhD, USAID hired Paul to create the first national overview of Nepal’s economic and social geography. By 1960 he began publishing articles on Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan, and during the intervening 50 years he has annually visited the region, using his Indian identity to reach areas blocked to outsiders.  During that interval he has published 25 books and 71 peer reviewed articles on the Himalaya.  These sessions are an attempt to recognize and honor his incomparable achievements as the preeminent scholar of Himalayan geography.

In the first of two sessions colleagues and students explain how their interactions with Dr. Karan have enriched their professional and personal lives. John Metz will introduce the panel with a brief outline of Dr. Karan’s academic career. David Zurick discusses the synergies that Paul has brought to their collaborative books on the Himalaya.  Sya Kedzior will show how her research has been inspired and guided by Dr. Karan’s hand.  Steve Wrinn will explain how Paul’s contributions have enhanced the University of Kentucky Press and his own life experiences. Ramesh Dhussa will sketch how Dr. Karan’s scholarship has inspired his research on the dynamics of cultural change in highland and lowland South Asia.

The second session features papers describing Himalayan research that has been inspired by Dr. Karan’s pioneering scholarship.  Milan Shrestha uses case studies of 4 communities in Manang and Lamjung districts to explore how transhumance is a hedge against an uncertain future. Keshav Bhattarai describes his use remote sensing and GIS to determine the proper patterns of built and open space needed to mitigate Kathmandu’s chaotic urbanization. Netra Chhetri will describe apple orchard development in Thak Khola and how climate change is expanding the areas being planted. Finally, Barbara Brower will discuss the presentations.

Session I:

Chair: John Metz, Northern Kentucky University
David Zurick, Eastern Kentucky University
Sya Kedzior, Towson University
Steven Wrinn, University of Kentucky
Ramesh Dhussa, Drake University

Session II:

Chair: David Zurick, Eastern Kentucky University
Milan Shrestha, Arizona State University
Keshav Bhattarai, University of Central Missouri
Netra Chhetri, Arizona State University

Discussant: Barbara Brower, Portland State University
_______________________

133: Tracing a Nation: Bhutanese Identities in Object, Text and Practice
Convener: Ariana Maki, Colorado University Boulder Art Museum

Considered alongside its neighbors, Bhutan remains comparatively understudied, despite a wide-ranging and largely intact body of extant material available for investigation. This panel highlights four current research projects in anthropology, archaeology, and art history, each of which seeks to provide alternative interpretations of Bhutan’s past, and further, how these discoveries could impact our understanding of certain aspects of modern practices and beliefs.

In his paper, Dendup Chophel revisits colonial-era British field reports on Bhutan, visits that coincided with the early 20th century emergence and establishment of the Bhutanese monarchy. His work highlights the ways in which a “Bhutanese” communal identity coalesced in the face of external threats. Further, Chophel provides analysis of relations between the two forces, and in what ways this relationship may have impacted the formation of bonds between Bhutan and post-Independence India. In contrast, the work of anthropologist Dorji Penjore revisits internal social categorizations and stratification that once dominated Bhutanese agricultural practices.  His work, based on current research in Trongsa, suggests that the general characterizations of “serfdom” and “feudal society,” are in large part due to well intentioned, but misinformed, early reports on these small communities made by outsiders.

Ariana Maki uses iconographic analysis to chart how a sacred site in Bumthang transformed from temple to fully functioning monastery in the 1960s, and how the resultant substantive changes in imagery impact the ways in which the modern local community might read and understand the site, which is of one of Bhutan’s most important Nyingma temples. Kuenga Wangmo, Bhutan’s only trained archaeologist, offers analysis of the challenges of this nascent discipline in Bhutan, where the clashes between intrinsic cultural value and archaeological context are precipitating new legislation, new questions, and differing perspectives.

Presenters:

Dendup Chophel, Centre for Bhutan Studies
Ariana Maki, CU Boulder Art Museum 
Dorji Penjore, Australian National University
Kuenga Wangmo, Courtauld Museum of Art
_______________________

134: Translating Medical Ideas across Himalayan Communities of Sowa Rigpa Medical Practitioners, Past and Present
Convener: Barbara GerkeHumboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Practitioners of amchi medicine/Tibetan medicine/Sowa Rigpa (gso ba rig pa) across the broad band of the Himalaya have always incorporated medical knowledge from diverse sources and do not conceive and develop their medical ideas in isolation. In the past, Tibetan physicians had regular contact with medical traditions across the Himalayas, the historical context of which will be a focus of this panel. These exchanges have been ongoing. Not only are contemporary Sowa Rigpa practitioners exposed to a variety of local indigenous healers, herbalists, bone-setters, and diviners, but also—and increasingly—they are having encounters with both practitioners of biomedicine and patients whose understanding of the body are influenced by biomedicine.

Conceived broadly and as multi-disciplinary, this panel invites anthropologists, linguists, ethnopharmacologists, medical historians, scholars from Buddhist, Tibetan, Himalayan and Religious Studies, Medical History, as well as Translation Studies to discuss new approaches to flows of medical ideas and knowledge among Sowa Rigpa practitioners. This panel will take a broad look at questions of how these practitioners have translated their own and other systems of medical knowledge as well as how we, as academic researchers, translate their forms of knowledge into our own systems of thought. Translation here is viewed in the broadest sense of cultural exchanges of ideas and epistemologies, which flow in multiple ways. As important as questions of how we, as researchers, ‘translate them’ are those of how ‘they translate us,’ or how ‘they translate others.’

How can we understand the diversities of these practices from the perspectives of medical practitioners themselves? Can we even talk about a community of Himalayan practitioners of Sowa Rigpa, considering their diverse practices? How do practitioners collaborate, carve out their own niche, institutionalise and organise themselves in their efforts to establish their clinics or receive government recognition—all while supplying health care to local and global communities? Each of these efforts, which involve cross-cultural encounters, might address different needs, for example, access to institutionalised education, the fight for recognition, the strengthening of identity, access to materia medica resources, or the safe manufacture of medicines. By presenting ethnographic, textual, oral, and historical examples of these encounters, this panel will look at translations of medical ideas and practices in terms of their flow of continuous change and exchange, definitions and redefinitions, as well as negotiations of similarities and differences.

Session I:

Katharina Sabernig, Medical University Vienna / Institute for Social Anthropology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences
Katrin Jäger, Rangjung Yeshe Institute, Kathmandu University
Susan Heydon, University of Otago
Eric Jacobson, Harvard Medical School

Session II:

Namgyal Qusar, Qusar Tibetan Healing Centre, Dharamsala
Sienna Craig, Dartmouth College and Barbara Gerke, Humboldt University of Berlin
Ripu M. Kunwar, Florida Atlantic University
_______________________

Top of page

Comments are closed.