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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 […]

Anarchy in the Nepali Student Unions: Some Sociohistorical Context

I’ve been meaning to comment on Thira Bhusal’s piece on the growing anarchy in the Nepali Student Unions. Such anarchy is no surprise to me or anyone else who follows Nepali politics. This article opens with a summary of the lethargy amongst the three largest student unions. Neither the All Nepal Free Student Union (ANNFSU […]

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 […]

Fostering Creativity

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a friend quoting a pretty scathing summation of the professionalizing impact of grad school made by David Graeber and Stevphen Shukaitis in their introduction to Constituent Imaginations. I won’t quote it in its entirety, but it opens asserting, Graduate school is not on the whole meant […]