Mona Bhan is Ford-Maxwell Professor of South Asian Studies and Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Syracuse University. Her work focuses on the connections of economic development, humanitarianism, border wars and counterinsurgencies in Kashmir. More recently, she has also published on human and non-human entanglements in the Anthropocene. Mona Bhan co-founded the Critical Kashmir Studies Collective in 2013. Her keynote presentation will be followed by a discussion from Mabel Denzin Gergan, Assistant Professor in Asian Studies at Vanderbilt University.
Karine Gagné is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Guelph. Her research explores human-animal relations and climate change through an ethics of care in Ladakh. Karine Gagné’s book Caring for Glaciers: Land, Animals, and Humanity in the Himalayas (University of Washington Press, 2019) won the ANHS James Fisher Prize for First Books on the Himalayan Region in 2020. Pasang Yangjee Sherpa, Assistant Professor of Lifeways in Indigenous Asia at the University of British Columbia, will join us as a discussant of Karine Gagné’s keynote.
Developed from extensive ethnographic research, the science fiction documentary Ningwasum places the Indigenous Yakthung community from eastern Nepal in a futuristic space travel scenario. Ningwasum is centred around two Indigenous astronauts and time travellers from an alternative future, in which a Yakthung nation coexists with other nations and allies that have created their own advanced technology. The film explores concepts of time, memory and belonging as well as experiences of colonization and cultural erasure. It imagines a future in which Indigenous people have asserted their identities through the use of technology, a creative space that film maker Subash Thebe calls "Adivasi Futurism." Filmed mostly in the Himalayas including the Wasanglung region of eastern Nepal, which is believed to be the shamanic home of the Yakthung people, Ningwasum is spoken entirely in the Yakthung language and weaves oral narratives, animation and electronic music into its storytelling. It features Subin Limbu and Shanta Nepali as time travellers from the future.
Subash Thebe Limbu is a Yakthung visual artist based in Kathmandu, Nepal and London, United Kingdom. Working with film, sound, performance and painting, he draws on science and speculative fiction to address Indigenous struggles resulting from the effects of colonisation and climate change. Subash also produces Antariksa, a series of podcasts that explores current socio-political issues in Nepal and the Himalayan region.
Subash graduated with an MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins at the University of the Arts London (2016), where he received an UAL Vice Chancellors International Scholarship. He also holds a BA in Fine Art from Middlesex University and an Intermediate in Fine Art from Lalit Kala Campus in Kathmandu.