I am a socio-cultural anthropologist working in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, India, and China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region. My research explores the relationships between political discourse, ritual action, and cross-border mobility in producing ethnic identities and shaping social transformation. Current research projects include an ethnography of “post-conflict” state restructuring in Nepal that focuses on lived experiences of citizenship, territory and religiosity since 2006, and an exploration of trans-Himalayan citizenship across the historical and contemporary borders of India, China, and Nepal. In the wake of Nepal’s April and May 2015 earthquakes, I was engaged in relief efforts focused on rural areas, and continue to participate in public debate and practice in this domain.
My first book is titled Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India. An ethnography focusing on the cross-border circulation of Thangmi people and their ideas about ethnic, national, religious and political identity, Rituals of Ethnicity offers new explanations for the powerful persistence of ethnicity as a category of identification today despite the increasing realities of mobile, translocal lives. The book is based on over a decade of ethnographic research with diverse members of the Thangmi community in the Dolakha and Sindhupalchok districts of central-eastern Nepal, as well as in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India, and the neighboring state of Sikkim. All royalties from the sale of the book will be donated to organizations supporting Thangmi communities of Dolakha and Sindhupalchok to rebuild after the earthquakes devastated their villages.