Senior Fellowship Awards
2018 Senior Fellowship Award Winner
The Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies is pleased to announce the 2017 Senior Fellowship award winner, Dr. Stacy Leigh Pigg.
Dr. Pigg is a Professor of Anthropology at Simon Fraser University.
Project Title: Visualizing Bikas through a Graphic Narrative: “Batogato”—A collaborative research story about Himalayan lives & dreams, and road projects that promise to change them
Abstract: This research-creation project develops a graphic novel (a book that tells a story via drawings and text) representing local perspectives on road construction in remote districts of Nepal. The project is an experiment in genre/form for research reporting and public scholarship. The graphic narrative format offers an especially powerful way of telling a story through many voices and from multiple perspectives. A graphic narrative can thus give voice to underrepresented perspectives as well as mediate differing understandings among urban-based planners/policy makers, international donors, regional leaders, and local communities. The format can also convey experiences beyond local and national circumstances to increase international understanding of the Himalayan regional issues of mobility and rural development.
Roads are an important symbol of “development” in Nepal, as well as a crucial infrastructure enabling the movement of people, agriculture products, and commercial goods. Roads alter social experiences of remoteness, inclusion/exclusion, and opportunity. They are thus also deeply political projects. Real stories of how and where roads get built show how diverse motives, on the part of many actors, converge to determine which roads get built. They also beg the question: Who benefits from a road? The storyline juxtaposes descriptions of the infrastructure development process with real stories from people and about places along one particular road. Dr. Stacy Leigh Pigg spearheads the graphic narrative project, in a unique collaboration with Nepal-based artists and the researchers brought together through a multi-year research project on roads and the state (led by Katharine Rankin and Sara Shneiderman).
2017 Senior Fellowship Award Winner
The Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies is pleased to announce the 2017 Senior Fellowship award winner, Dr. Jan Brunson.
Dr. Brunson is an Associate Professor in Anthropology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
Project Title: It’s time: Negotiating biomedical, temporal, and embodied perspectives on the timing of birth in Nepal
Abstract: The revision of knowledge in the biomedical sciences is an expected part of how science operates. Recent debates on redefining “term” in obstetrics have highlighted how a commonly accepted scientific fact, a woman’s estimated date of delivery, is in practice shaped by multiple understandings about the timing of birth and subject to revision. Despite the ongoing capacity building and acquisition of high-tech equipment for offering cutting-edge management of pre- and post-term birth in Nepal, little attention in Himalayan studies has been paid to the enactment of high-tech medical care during pregnancy and birth. I propose to explore the standardization of time in obstetrics and its translation into practice in Nepal by analyzing the various perspectives that determine a woman’s ideal time of delivery: those of laypeople, doctors, and the scholars setting the guidelines. Through ethnographic research in a major hospital and the surrounding community, I aim to document Nepali health practitioners’ negotiation of multiple understandings of parturition and strategies for overcoming the challenges of pre- and post-term births in Nepal.
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.