Rupak Shrestha, PhD student in Geography, was awarded a National Science Foundation - Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (DDRI) grant by the Geography and Spatial Sciences Program. The award will support his dissertation research project titled "Extra-Territorial Sovereignty, Nationalism, and the Politics of Development".
His doctoral dissertation project will explore emerging questions in geopolitics about interactions among extra-territorial sovereignty (the power nation-states exert over people and places outside their borders), state-building, ethnic nationalism, and multi-ethnic contestations over space, place, and political expression. Through an ethnographic case study of Chinese economic and political influence in Nepal, he will investigate the following set of core questions: (1) How do the seemingly banal, everyday, and gendered practices of Tibetan nationalism and place making in one part of Kathmandu reveal the messy intricacies of Chinese extra-territorial politics of development in Nepal? (2) How do Chinese extra-territorial sovereignty and Nepali ethnic nationalism produce Tibetan refugee subjectivities in Nepal? (3) How do place based identity politics and Nepali ethnic nationalism produce contestations between Tibetan refugees and members of other ethnic groups in Nepal? Rupak will examine how everyday interactions, events, and practices reveal the intricacies of macro-scale geopolitics. In doing so, this dissertation will provide additional linkages between feminist political geography and geographies of sovereignty and territory.
For more information on the grant, see the NSF award page.