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The Politics of “Post-conflict”: On the Ground in South Asia

I am pleased to announce a new open access Cultural Anthropology Hot Spots forum, featuring essays from 14 scholars using “post-conflict” as a lens on Afghanistan, Kashmir, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Co-edited by Sara Shneiderman and me, with contributions from Mona Bhan, Vivian Choi, Noah Coburn, Anila Daulatzai, Thushara Hewage, Dhana Hughes, Heather Hindman, Dan […]

Here down in Birganj

I’ve now been in the city of Birganj, in Nepal’s Parsa district for a month and half and I’ve yet to post anything.  This is in part because it has taken me a bit of time to absorb this place, I’ve been hectic with both field research and writing projects, and I’ve had an entertaining, […]

Queen Elizabeth II’s 1961 visit to Nepal: What can a retrospective view tell us about the present?

This is a great video to get a sense of  how Nepal was framed for the British public in the early sixties. You can see where the roots of certain essentialisms came from, especially Nepal as an exotic Shangri-La that is “friendly to the west but holding jealously to its own standards of values and […]

“Are Sherpa Guides Safe?”: The Risks of Uncritical Orientalism

There has been a lot written about the fight that broke out on Everest on April 27th between three elite alpinists and Sherpa mountaineers. The situation came at a bad time and brought a lot of unwelcome press during the 60 year anniversary  of Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary’s Everest summit. The Guardian’s headline aptly captures […]

Social Commentary on Kathmandu’s Road Expansion Project

I’ve been getting a lot of verbal feedback on my blog post on the road expansion project.  I wish people would post their comments for everyone to read. Since they have not, I’ll share a few choice insights.  First off, I must be doing something right because based on my argument I was accused of being […]

Kathmandu Becoming a (Post) Modern City: Road Expansion Project

I’ve been in Kathmandu for a week.  It’s changed quite a bit since I was last here in 2011. The most striking thing is the road expansion project. It’s a sorely needed infrastructure overhaul to deal with the rapid increase in private vehicle ownership.  The project has had mixed results, creating the effect of a […]

The Relativity of Youth

The U.N.’s official age bracket for the youth demographic is 15-24. This demographic prescription has had a significant universalizing effect, due in part to the U.N.’s rights of the child strictures, transnational development aid, and the ubiquity of mass education.  However, youth is a social category. And like all social categories, youth is actualized and […]

Is education a human right?

Last week my class went to see Salman Khan speak about Khan academy and universal education. My students enjoyed it. Education policy is a priority for a number of them. They said as much when I asked what they would like President Obama to accomplish in his second term.  They are particularly interested in moving […]

Hello world!

This is my first blog post embarking on a new adventure.  In April, I am going to Nepal for a year to do research for a project entitled, Alchemists of the Revolution?: Politics of Educated Unemployed Youth. This is a joint project carried out by a research team of six in northern India, Nepal, and […]