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Announcement of the Winner of the James Fisher Prize 2023

02/26/2024 5:18 AM | Anonymous

The James Fisher Prize for First Books on the Himalayan Region honors the scholarly contributions of Dr. James Fisher to scholarship on the region. The prize will recognize an outstanding first book on the Himalayan region.

Winner of the 2023 ANHS James Fisher Book Prize is:

Alison Melnick Dyer

Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Bates College

For her book:

The Tibetan Nun Mingyur Peldron: A Woman of Power and privilege. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2022.

This book tells the remarkable story of Mingyur Peldron, nun and teacher at Mindrolling Monastery in Central Tibet during the 18th century flourishing of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. The primary source informing the account is the namtar, devotional life history, written by one of Mingyur Peldron’s disciples. Historian Alison Melnick Dyer interprets Mingyur Peldron’s namtar in relation to myriad supplementary archival materials to create an extraordinary account of how women exercise authority in the context of Tibetan Buddhist monastic life. The translations are beautifully rendered and the analysis of Peldron’s teaching and leadership offers novel insights on gender dynamics at the heart of Tibetan Buddhism.

ANHS is acknowledging as the 2023 honorary mention:

Kyle J. Gardner,

For his book:

The Frontier Complex: Geopolitics and the Making of the India-China Border, 1846-1962. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021.

The Frontier Complex powerfully documents the making of Ladakh’s northern border by colonial British administrators, geographers, and frontier "experts". Repeated border-making attempts slowly transformed the space of Ladakh from a market crossroads to a security zone serving a crucial role in the formation of the British imperial frontier. In fact, however, the application of 19th-century imperial geographic science failed to yield clear demarcations of territory—a legacy bequeathed to the postcolonial Indian state. The failure by British colonialists to create a suitable border manifests today in India’s 21st-century border disputes with China and Nepal. Drawing on a vast range of archival materials in multiple languages, historian Kyle J. Gardner furnishes a conception of geopolitics rooted in the politics of space that can inform a critical understanding of contested postcolonial borderlands across the Himalayas and beyond.

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