Senior Fellowship Awards

2016 Senior Fellowship Award Winner

The Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies is pleased to announce the 2016 Senior Fellowship award winner, Dr. David Atwill, for his project titled Islamic Shangri-la: Tibetan Muslim Hybridity, Assimilation and Diaspora.

Dr. Atwill is an Associate Professor of History & Asian Studies in the Department of History at Pennsylvania State University.

Project Title: Islamic Shangri-la: Tibetan Muslim Hybridity, Assimilation and Diaspora

Abstract: In 1959, a dispute arose in central Tibet between Chinese authorities and Tibetan Muslims over their claim of Indian citizenship despite having lived in Tibet for centuries. The ensuing diplomatic row resulted in the exchange of dozens of diplomatic notes, letters and memorandums that ultimately ended with nearly a thousand Tibetan Muslims being admitted to India with Indian citizenship in late 1960. While the 1960 Tibetan Muslim Incident has been almost entirely forgotten, it underscores in a much more nuanced manner the limits that the non-alignment, anti-imperialism, and pro-Asian solidarity movements of the 1950s had shaped both nation’s euphoric post-independence/liberation period.

Precisely how the two governments seized upon the Tibetan Muslims in 1959 as the test case for these larger ethnic and citizenship questions is startling when one realizes that even as the Dalai Lama crossed over into India—thus sparking the Indian’s government interest in the Tibetan Muslims—the Tibetan Muslim’s precise history, position in Tibetan society, and transnational identity remained ambiguous and largely undocumented in Chinese, Tibetan and Western sources. This project seeks to delineate how Tibet’s dramatic ethno-religious landscape facilitated inter-regional interaction and thus explicitly undermines two central pillars of the externalist narratives of Tibet: the essentializing narrative in which all Tibetans are lumped together as some sort of heterogeneous yet monolithic whole, and the exclusionist narrative whereby all non-Buddhist groups are portrayed as permanently peripheral to all that is Himalayan.

2015 Senior Fellowship Award Winner

This is the sixth year of the ANHS Senior Fellowship Program and we received numerous excellent applications.

The award for 2015 is:

Dr. Richard Bownas, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Affairs for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado

Project Title: Maoist Model Villages and social transformation in post-conflict Nepal: a village based research study

Abstract: This research study aims to establish whether the period of social and political control of the Maoist guerrilla forces during Nepal’s civil war led to lasting changes in social structures, in particular structures concerning caste and gender. Specifically, the study will examine two villages in the Terai, one of which was a Maoist ‘model village’, where the Maoists had full political and social control for a number of years, and a demographically similar village nearby where the Maoists were not in control. The study will involve measuring discrimination practices in the two villages and investigating the micro politics of caste and gender in the two locations to find out whether Maoist political control has made an enduring difference in the model village in the nine years since the conflict period. The wider aim of the study is to investigate the conditions under which social transformation occurs in rural Nepal, using the Maoist model village as a lens through which to understand social change and the obstacles to structural transformation of enduring inequalities.

2014 Senior Fellowship Award Winner

This is the fifth year of the ANHS Senior Fellowship Program and we received numerous excellent applications.

The award for 2014 is:

Dr. Pasang Yangjee Sherpa from the Department of Anthropology at Pennsylvania State University.

Project Title: Climate Change and Sherpas: Collaborative Problem Solving Project in Nepal

Abstract: The collaborative project brings researchers and Sherpa youths together in order to develop mutually beneficial collaboration in addressing local climate change effects in the Everest region of Nepal. This project works with the Environmental Graduates Himalaya (EGH), a group of graduate students and researchers interested in the Himalayas, and the Sherwi Yondhen Tshokpa (SYT), a group of Sherpa students from the region. The goals of this collaboration are: 1) to create a platform whereby both researchers and Sherpas can mutually benefit from each other’s knowledge and experience; 2) to build local, national and international communication networks for SYT based on EGH’s current model using emails and social media to broaden access to scientific knowledge and resources; and 3) to assist SYT in maintaining and operating their environmental library, equipped with the Internet and other communication technology, to further facilitate access and sharing of information. The need for the collaboration was realized after conducting an ethnographic research (2009-2012), and several consultation meetings with SYT and EGH in the summer of 2013. In December of 2013, support from the Wenner-Gren Engaged Anthropology Grant allowed us to further discuss with SYT and EGH and develop specific activities for the project. This project started in January of 2014 with support ($2000) from the Anthropology and Environment Society Small Grants Program of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). The ANHS fellowship, if received, will be used to cover my travel costs from the United States to Nepal and additional costs associated with activities for May-June, 2014.


Contact Info

1300 University Avenue
B488 Medical Sciences Center
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: 608-261-1194

ANHS Kathmandu Research Center
54 Kantishree Marg, Baluwatar
Kathmandu, Nepal.
Phone: 01-4425797