SOAS University of London

South Asia Section, School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics

Culture and Conflict in the Himalaya

Module Code:
Taught in:
Full Year

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

This module will provide students with insights that will enable them to consider more generally issues such as the relationship between ethnic, linguistic and national identities; processes of nation building; the relationship between dominant elites and marginalised minorities; the tension between tradition and modernity; the underlying causes of social and political conflict in a resource-poor environment; the factors that can lead to refugee flight; and the difference between assumed and ascribed identities.


Total of 22 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week consisting of a 1 hour lecture and 1 hour seminar.

Scope and syllabus

This module is intended to provide Masters students with an opportunity (which is unique in UK Higher Education) to consider and understand current socio-cultural and political issues in the Himalayan kingdoms of Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim. It provides a basic framework for the cultural and political history of the Himalayan states, discussing specific questions of national and cultural identity, and takes the Maoist insurgency in Nepal, the flight of ethnic Nepali refugees from Bhutan, and the status of members of the Nepali diaspora in India as important case studies.

Method of assessment

8 fortnightly reaction papers of 800 words each with the five best reaction papers will count towards the final mark (40%); an essay of 3000 words to be submitted in week 1, term 2, day on which the module is taught (30%); an essay of 3000 words to be submitted in week 1, term 3, day on which the module is taught (30%).

Suggested reading

A comprehensive reading list will be made available to students at the beginning of the module.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules