Published: March 24, 2017 By , ,

Geography Colloquium SeriesAbstract: Nepal’s 2015 earthquakes killed more than 9000 people, damaged more than half a million homes and destroyed nearly half of Nepal’s GDP. The earthquakes struck Nepal at a time when the country was experiencing two massive political transformations: 1) a decade long Maoist insurgency followed by the establishment of federalism and the Republic Nepal, and 2) neoliberalization of every aspect of Nepali society primarily implemented by the state, NGOs and geoeconomic forces. After the earthquakes, these forces of change have become exceptionally powerful, forcing Nepal to enter into a particular form of disaster capitalism. In this process, priority is given to the transformation and mobilization of subsistence agrarian economies toward commercial and financialized practices, institutionalizing schemes of accumulation without dispossession. These local changes are swift and encompassing, and the flow of foreign capital is unprecedented. However, the paper also shows that there are some signs of growing resistance in Nepal, where post-disaster changes are articulated politically by organic intellectuals and activists, and it may lead to the emergence of yet another wave of political movements in the future.

co-sponsored by Tibetan Himalaya Initiative