The James Fisher Prize for First Books on the Himalayan Region
2018 Prize Winners
In honor of the scholarly contributions of Dr. James Fisher to scholarship in the region, ANHS proudly announces the winners of the James Fisher Prize for First Books on the Himalayan Region. The James Fisher Prize for First Books on the Himalayan Region honors books which contribute an innovative and lucid written account of Himalayan studies research.
With a dozen highly competitive submissions, the awards committee is proud to announce the James Fisher Prize to Bérénice Guyot-Réchard of King’s College, London for her remarkable book, Shadow States: India, China and the Himalayas, 1910-1962 (Cambridge, 2017). Dr. Guyot-Réchard’s book, Shadow States, chronicles how India and China have entertained a difficult and tenuous relationship in their state-making endeavors in the Himalayan borderland. Dr. Guyot-Réchard documents the political posturing along the Arunanchal borders using not only multifarious historical documents, but also oral history interviews with local Tani and other communities. Located at the trijunction of Chinese Tibet, Bhutan, and India, Shadow States is a sobering reminder of the competitive dimension of borderland state-making and the role of local residents in shaping politics. That this book is so lucidly written, compassionate, and insightful is a testament the exceptional quality of our next generation of Himalayan scholars.
In addition, the Prize Committee awards Honorable Mention to Anne Mocko of Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, for her book, Demoting Vishnu: Ritual, Politics, and the Unraveling of Nepal’s Hindu Monarchy (Oxford, 2016). Dr. Mocko’s book, Demoting Vishnu, is a study of Nepal’s political shift from monarchy to republic through changes in royal public rituals. Based on extensive interviews and ethnographic fieldwork, Demoting Vishnu contends that usurping religious authority by interim administrations during Indra Jatra and other events served to legitimize new political authority in the nascent Republic of Nepal. While academics generally observe and record the more visible political demonstrations, constitutional legislative actions, or other political events, Dr. Mocko opens a whole new ritual landscape for readers to appreciate with keen insight and a lean yet evocative writing style.