SOAS University of London

SOAS South Asia Institute

Restructuring Life: political, social, and material transformation in post-conflict, post-disaster Nepal

Shneiderman, Sara
Sara Shneiderman

Date: 11 January 2019Time: 6:30 PM

Finishes: 11 January 2019Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Room: Alumni Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Lecture


This talk draws upon over 20 years of ethnographic research in Dolakha district, Nepal, to explore how political upheaval and natural disaster may be experienced as intertwined forces of social transformation. My narrative is anchored by a series of photographs that track how specific structural forms—homes, temples, schools, roads, and other elements of the built environment and landscape—have changed shape over time, through the twin processes of state restructuring and infrastructural reconstruction in the wake of Nepal’s state-Maoist conflict (1996-2006), post-conflict constitutional process (2006-2015) and post-earthquake reconstruction program (2015-present). These material transformations provide the foundation for a broader anthropological consideration of how people conceptualize the very ideas of structure, transformation, and agency themselves as they negotiate the ever-changing terrain of the Nepali state.


Sara Shneiderman is Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC), in the Department of Anthropology and the Institute of Asian Research at UBC’s School of Public Policy & Global Affairs. She is the author of Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India(University of Pennsylvania Press 2015; winner of the 2017 James Fisher Prize for First Books on the Himalayan Region) and co-editor of Darjeeling Reconsidered: Histories, Politics, Environments (Oxford University Press, 2018). She has also published widely on the themes of ethnicity, mobility, citizenship, and borders in the Himalayas and South Asia. Her current transdisciplinary research partnership funded by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) focuses on the social and political dimensions of post-earthquake reconstruction in Nepal in collaboration with Social Science Baha, the Department of Anthropology at Tribhuvan University, and several other partners. At UBC, she is Co-Coordinator of the Himalaya Program and Co-Director of the Centre for India and South Asia Research.

The event is free to attend but registration essential. Click here to register. 

Organiser: SOAS South Asia Institute and Sway Project

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