Bihari Krishna Ethnographic Research Fellowship

Social Science Baha
Bihari Krishna Ethnographic Research Fellowship

Call for Applications

An ethnographic study of selected communities affected by the Great Earthquake 2015

Under theBihari Krishna Ethnographic Research Fellowship programme managed by it, Social Science Baha invites applications for six-month fellowships from interested individuals.


One of the enduring socio-economic realities of Nepal is that the Nepalese society is highly diversified, vertically along class lines and horizontally along caste ethnic lines, with most settlements being densely mixed ethnically. The regions struck by the April-May 2015 earthquake remain part of such mixed ethnic landscape of Nepal.

This call is aimed at students of anthropology to undertake a six-month fellowship to study of selected sites affected by the earthquake. The study is intended to examine the underlying dynamics within affected communities to understand better how such communities have coped/are coping with the catastrophe in its immediate aftermath and thereafter, especially in view of the fact that the promised government aid still has to make its way to the devastated households and communities.

The study is expected to meet the following four objectives.

  1. First, it is expected to generate detailed information on how individual households belonging to different class and caste/ethnic groups and the communities as collective entities reorganise themselves after the disaster to make their lives possible once again on a day-to-day basis, including accessing emergency relief provided by various government and non-government agencies. This is expected to shed important light on how the class and caste/ethnic differences in our social structure played out during the time of crisis and on the capacity for resilience of these communities.
  2. Second, it is intended to generate information on policy implications for rebuilding lives in a way that it would also mitigate the utter deprivation that has otherwise characterised the living condition of the people at lower rungs of the vertically defined socio-economic ladder in the communities.
  3. Third, the study is also intended to provide opportunities for Nepali anthropologists to gain some hands-on experience in studying the impact of the earthquake on the lives of the communities in the earthquake affected regions.
  4. Finally, the study will serve as record of life from selected locations around the affected region as communities attempt a return to normalcy following the massive natural disaster.

Study sites
The 25 April earthquake and its major aftershock on 12 May severely affected a total of 14 districts. The study will be undertaken by four researchers in four different sites, namely, the districts of Gorkha, Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha along with the Kathmandu Valley. The exact communities to be studied will be identified later. The research, however, will be an integrated whole and the various site studies would constitute its integral and mutually comparable components. Uniformity in the contents and methods of study will, therefore, be crucial. It is foreseen that there will be one single report for the study and the site specific studies would constitute its parts. There will be a Lead Researcher who would be coordinating the study, including authoring the main report.

Study methodology
The study will mainly be ethnographic in nature. The researchers will be in residence in the selected communities for three months with a break for a consultation meeting midway to be described further down. The study will focus on a manageable sample of households which is either a distinct community by itself or a distinct part of a larger community. The criterion for the selection of the sample would be the ethnic composition of the region. By and large, it is expected that the sample would consist of some 25 households belonging to Bahun-Chhetri and Dalit caste groups and the locally dominant Janajati group.

In-depth interviews with sample households based on good rapport building will be the basic method of information gathering.

It is expected that the resident researcher would be assisted by a local person with some education to be recruited for the period of the field research.

Study contents
Broadly stated, the following aspects of the households in earthquake will be studied:

  1. Socio-economic attributes of the sample households before and after the earthquake.
  2. Dislocations suffered in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.
  3. Measures adopted to cope with the impact of the quake.
  4. Impact of migration on pre- and post-earthquake situation
  5. Assessment of relief support within and external to the community.
  6. Household’s view of the future.

It is foreseen that there would be detailed questionnaires drawn up for each of the areas of enquiry mentioned above to ensure uniformity and comparability between the research findings of different sites.

Research participants
The researchers will have at least a Master’s degree in anthropology from a recognised institution.

Other details
Number of fellowships: Four
Length of fellowship: Six months

Commencement of fellowship: 16 November 2015
Fellowship stipend: up to NPR 250,000, including NPR 25,000 monthly stipend

Application procedure
Interested applicants are requested to fill out the application form available here and send it to info@soscbaha.orgby 1 November 2015.


Contact Info

Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies
c/o John Metz, Treasurer
1586 Rockhurst Lane
Cincinnati, OH 45255-2637

ANHS Kathmandu Research Center
54 Kantishree Marg, Baluwatar
Kathmandu, Nepal.