Speaker Series

Spring Quarter 2017:

Sara Shneiderman, PhD: ‘Restructuring Life: Citizenship, Territory and Religiosity in Nepal’s State of Transformation’
Where: Thomson Hall, Room 101 (click for map)
When: Thursday, April 13, 2017: 4:30pm-6:00pm

Sara Shneiderman (PhD, Cornell University, 2009) is Assistant Professor in Anthropology and the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia. She is the author of Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), along with several articles on the themes of Nepal’s Maoist and indigenous movements; ethnic classification, affirmative action, and the politics of recognition in South Asia; and borders and citizenship in the Himalaya. Her current research explores the politics of reconstruction in Nepal’s post-conflict, post-disaster transformation, focusing on dynamics of citizenship, territory and religiosity, and is funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).


How do we imagine the ideal state that we aspire to live in? In the wake of a decade-long civil conflict between Maoist and state forces, citizens of Nepal had the rare opportunity to do just this through a process of “post-conflict” state restructuring between 2006-2015. I argue that a widespread sense of positive social transformation experienced during this period of political liminality directly affected responses to the crises of 2015: earthquakes and a new, imperfect constitution. Through an ethnographic exploration of the administrative and affective domains of citizenship, territory, and religiosity during Nepal’s ongoing transformation, I revisit anthropological questions about the relationships between imaginaries of structure and order on the one hand, and political aspiration, mobilization, and revolution on the other. This ethnography of restructuring suggests that the emergent state of Nepal is at once a deeply sovereign, and globally produced, form that offers insights into broader debates over the nature of “the political” today.


Mark Turin, PhD: ‘Collaborations in Language: Partnerships, Representations, and Resurgence’
Where: Thomson Hall, Room 101 (click for map)
When: Friday, April 14, 2017: 5:00pm-6:30pm

Mark Turin (PhD, Linguistics, Leiden University, 2006) is an anthropologist, linguist, and radio presenter. At the University of British Columbia, Mark serves as Chair of the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program, Acting Co-Director of the University’s new Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and Associate Professor of Anthropology. Dr. Turin writes and teaches on ethnolinguistics, language endangerment, visual anthropology, digital archives and fieldwork methodology. He is the author or co-author of four books, three travel guides, the editor of eight volumes, the co-editor of the journal Himalaya and he edits a series on oral literature. Dr. Turin’s recent work has been funded by SSHRC, NSF and NASA, and he serves on the Advisory Board of SAPIENS.


This talk focuses on several key collaborative partnerships in which Dr. Turin has been involved with Heiltsuk community members in Bella Bella, BC, as well as with historically marginalized, Indigenous communities in the Himalayan region.

Through a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2016, the Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre, the Bella Bella Community School and the University of British Columbia’s First Nations and Endangered Languages Program are partnering in an effort to collaboratively create new opportunities for speaking, writing and reading the Híɫzaqv (Heiltsuk) language by expanding and deepening existing community language revitalization and cultural documentation in a digital environment. The partnership brings together students, staff and faculty in Vancouver and Bella Bella by providing spaces to productively combine academic and community goals.

Across the globe, elders and youth in Indigenous communities are actively using and appropriating emerging technologies to strengthen their traditions and languages. Indigenous peoples are creators and innovators (not just recipients or clients) of new technologies, particularly in the domain of cultural and linguistic heritage. While technological efforts in the 1970s included specially modified typewriters and custom-made fonts to represent Indigenous writing systems, communities are now making use of digital tools—online, text, Internet radio and mobile devices—to nurture the continued development of their languages and cultures. In this visually engaging lecture, Professor Turin will draw on long-term fieldwork in Nepal and India with speakers of Thangmi—a community whose language has long been effaced from the national record in the states where it is spoken—and his more recent collaborative work with the Heiltsuk First Nation to critically reflect on the ways in which contemporary research partnerships are structured and mediated. His presentation will explore issues of orality and orthography, representation and resurgence. All those interested in learning more about the responsibilities and challenges of long-term community collaboration, co-authorship and advocacy are invited to attend.

Spring Quarter 2016:

Shobha Hamal Gurung, PhD: ‘Nepali Migrant Women: Resistance & Survival in America’
Where: Thomson 101
When: Thursday, May 5, 2016: 5:00pm-6:30pm

Shobha Hamal Gurung_flyer_5.5.2016

Ram Shrestha, MD: ‘From Survival to Revival: Redefining the role of a University in Post-Earthquake Nepal. Experience from Kathmandu University’ The Chronic Disaster of Mental Health in Nepal: Strengthening Health Systems Before and After the Earthquake’
Where: Foege Auditorium (GNOM S060)
When: Thursday, April 14, 2016: 5:30pm-6:20pm

Ram Shrestha flyer

Winter Quarter 2016:

Bihav Acharya, MD and Brandon Kohrt, MD, PhD: ‘The Chronic Disaster of Mental Health in Nepal: Strengthening Health Systems Before and After the Earthquake’
Where: Foege Auditorium (GNOM S060)
When: Tuesday, February 9, 2016: 4:30pm-6:20pm


Autumn Quarter 2015:

Robert Desjarlais, PhD: ‘Poeisis in Living and Dying’
Where: Gowen 201
When: Wednesday, October 7, 2015: 3:30pm-5:00pm


Summer Quarter 2015:

Rajendra Koju, MD: ‘Fighting a War Without Enemies’: Dhulikhel Hospital and the Response to the Earthquakes in Nepal
Where: Allen North Library Auditorium, 181L
When: Thursday, July 2, 2015: 4:00pm-5:00pm
Audio file here:


Dr. Koju flier

Spring Quarter 2015:

Nathalie Williams, PhD: Weather shocks and migration in Chitwan, Nepal: Abandonment or adjustment of rural livelihoods?
Where: Loew 102
When: Thursday, May 28, 2015: 3:30pm-4:20pm

Nathalie Williams_spring speaker_5.28.2015

Arjun Karki, MD: Improving Population Health in Nepal: New Policy Initiatives
Where: Allen North Library Auditorium, 081L
When: Thursday, April 30, 2015: 4:00pm-5:00pm
Presentation link here


Winter Quarter 2015:

Chandra Jha, PhD: Illicit Drug Use in Nepal
Where: Allen North Library Auditorium, 081L
When: Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 2015: 4:00pm-5:00pm

ChandraJha17Feb2015_with_South Asia Center

Autumn Quarter 2014:

Roshan Shrestha, PhD: Mobilizing youth to address to address public health emergencies: Experience from a cholera outbreak in Western Nepal
Where: Thomson 101
When: Friday, October 17, 2015, 2014: 4:30pm-6:00pm

Dr. Shrestha flier