Senior Fellowship Awards

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.

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.


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