Published: Sept. 22, 2016

Tibet Himalaya Initiative, Center for Asian Studies, and the CU Boulder Department of Anthropology are co-hosting Socio-cultural Anthropologist, Sara Shneiderman, on Friday, October 7 at 4pm in HALE 230. The title of her talk is: Restructuring Life: Citizenship, Territory and Religiosity in Nepal’s State of Transformation. Professor Shneiderman's research explores the relationships between political discourse, ritual action, and cross-border mobility in producing ethnic identities and shaping social transformation. She is the author of the book Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India (2015), which is a transnational study of the relationships between mobility, ethnicity, and ritual action.

Abstract of the talk:

How do we imagine the ideal state that we aspire to live in? In the wake of a decade-long civil conflict between Maoist and state forces, citizens of Nepal had the rare opportunity to do just this through a process of “post-conflict” state restructuring between 2006-2015. I argue that a widespread sense of positive social transformation experienced during this period of political liminality directly affected responses to the crises of 2015: earthquakes and a new, imperfect constitution. Through an ethnographic exploration of the administrative and affective domains of citizenship, territory, and religiosity during Nepal’s ongoing transformation, I revisit anthropological questions about the relationships between imaginaries of structure and order on the one hand, and political aspiration, mobilization, and revolution on the other. This ethnography of restructuring suggests that the emergent state of Nepal is at once a deeply sovereign, and globally produced, form that offers insights into broader debates over the nature of “the political” today.