The Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies (ANHS) is the oldest academic organization in the United States devoted to the study of Nepal and wider Himalayan regions. ANHS was founded in 1971 when a group of scholars with research projects in Nepal met at the Association of Asian Studies meeting and formed the Nepal Studies Association (NSA).
In 1972, NSA won a grant from the Ford Foundation which helped to launch the organization. By 1973, NSA had attracted over 200 members. An organizational Newsletter was soon printed to disseminate information about NSA activities, to share research, and to connect scholars of Nepal. In 1980, the NSA replaced its Newsletter with a new publication, a scholarly journal that reflected the organization’s expanding focus on the entire Himalayan region: the Himalayan Research Bulletin (HRB). Through the decades, HRB editors repeatedly enhanced the depth and quality of the journal: increasing the number of primary-research-based articles; using photos, original artwork and other imagery to communicate key points of articles; and expanding the range of disciplinary coverage.
By the late 1990s, a growing number of members of NSA were doing research in parts of the Himalaya outside of Nepal. In response to this expanding range of members’ activity, in 1999 NSA changed its name to “The Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies,” acknowledging the interests of those working beyond Nepal. In 2003, to highlight the journal’s growing influence, the organization made a parallel decision by changing the journal’s name to HIMALAYA: The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies.
In addition to HIMALAYA, ANHS members have shared research findings at annual disciplinary conferences. For decades, many ANHS members have convened in late October at the Annual Conference on South Asia in Madison, Wisconsin, where ANHS has historically held its annual Membership Meetings. Since 2011, ANHS has also organized an ongoing series of Himalayan Studies Conferences (HSCs) in St. Paul, MN (2011), Kalamazoo, MI (2013), New Haven, CT (2014), Austin TX (2016), Boulder, CO (2017). These Himalaya-focused conferences have drawn scholars from around the globe and provided a venue for students, faculty, independent scholars, and others to share research on topics from linguistics and religion to climate change and hydrology. The 6th HSC is planned for 2022.
In the late 2000s, ANHS began the process of joining the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) in order to expand the organization’s opportunities to offer fellowships, to obtain grants, and to expand services within the Himalayan region. In 2014, ANHS was granted full status as an American Overseas Research Center.
Each year, ANHS awards the Dor Bahadur Bista Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper and the James Fisher Prize for the Best First Book on the Himalayan Region.
Over the 50 years of its existence, ANHS has continuously expanded its ability to fulfill the original goals of its founders: to promote research of all types on Nepal and the Himalaya; to support Nepalese and Himalayan scholars; and to facilitate student learning about Nepal and the Himalayan region.
ANHS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered with the State of Oregon and governed by its ANHS Constitution. Members include faculty, scholars, students, universities, colleges, libraries, and development organizations that specialize in Nepal and the Himalaya.