IIAS Lunch Lecture

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

Lunch Lecture by Sara Shneiderman, Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Lunch is provided, registration is required. 

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 the newly released volume 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. At UBC, she is Co-Coordinator of the Himalaya Program and Co-Director of the Centre for India and South Asia Research.



Registration (required)

If you would like to attend this lecture, please register via the webform provided below, by Friday 19 October 15:00 hrs if you would like IIAS to provide lunch.

About IIAS Lunch Lectures

Every month, one of the IIAS affiliated fellows will give an informal presentation about his/her work-in-progress for colleagues and others interested. Lunch lectures are sometimes also organised for visiting scholars.

IIAS organises these lectures to provide the research community with an opportunity to freely discuss ongoing research and exchange thoughts and ideas. Anyone with an interest in the subject matter at hand is welcome to attend and join the discussion.