Faculty and graduate students involved in the Tibet Himalaya Initiative at CU Boulder

 

Faculty

Holly Gayley at Larung Buddhist Academy

Holly Gayley

Assistant Professor • Tibetan Buddhism
Religious Studies
Holly Gayley , Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, conducts research on the revitalization of Buddhism on the Tibetan plateau with special interest in gender in hagiographic literature; ritual, ethics and identity politics; and Buddhist modernism. Her current research focuses on an emerging ethical reform movement in eastern Tibet, spearheaded by cleric-scholars at Larung Buddhist Academy in Serta, and her recent publications on the topic include: "Reimagining Buddhist...
Carole McGranahan

Carole McGranahan

Associate Professor
Anthropology
Carole McGranahan , Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, conducts research on culture, history, politics in the Tibetan refugee community, including on the citizens’ Chushi Gangdrug resistance army that fought against the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in the 1950s and 1960s, and on the twenty-first century politics of citizenship for Tibetan refugees in both South Asia and North America. She is the author of Arrested Histories: Tibet, the CIA,...
Stephanie Spray

Stephanie Spray

Assistant Professor
Critical Media Practices
Stephanie Spray is Assistant Professor in Critical Media Practices at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is an active filmmaker and anthropologist whose work lies at the intersection of ethnography and art, with research interests in social aesthetics; visual, sonic, and media anthropology; climate change and the anthropology of science, especially oceanic and at high altitude; and everyday religious practice. In Nepal, Dr. Spray worked with itinerant musicians, known as...
Emily T. Yeh

Emily T. Yeh

Professor
Geography
Emily T. Yeh , Professor and Department Chair of Geography at CU Boulder, conducts research on nature-society relations in Tibetan parts of the PRC, including projects on conflicts over access to natural resources, the relationship between ideologies of nature and nation, the political ecology of pastoral environment and development policies, vulnerability of Tibetan herders to climate change, and emerging environmental subjectivities. Emily’s book Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift...

Affiliated Faculty

Jules Levinson

Jules Levinson

Religious Studies
Jules Levinson earned a doctoral degree in Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, where he studied under the guidance of Jeffrey Hopkins, a foremost figure in the field of Buddhist Studies. He now lives in Boulder, CO, where he translates literature and oral commentary concerned with the Middle Way (mādhyamika) and the Great Seal (mahāmudrā) as they are known in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist traditions. For many years he...
Sam

Sam Sonntag

Political Science
Sam (Selma K.) Sonntag recently retired from Humboldt State University in northern California. She has joined the Department of Political Science here at the University of Colorado, Boulder as an affiliate professor, teaching courses on South and Southeast Asia. She completed her undergraduate degree in 1978 in South Asia Regional Studies at the University of Washington, continuing at the same institution for her Ph.D. in Political Science. Her primary research...

Visiting Scholars

renee ford - bio pic

Renée Ford

Visiting Scholar
Religious Studies
Renée Ford, a PhD student at Rice University, studies Tibetan Buddhism, with an emphasis of sūtric and tantric meditation practices of the rNying ma tradition. Her other research interests include performative and ritual theory, embodiment, cognitive sciences of religion, and Tibetan Buddhist epistemology. Renée holds a M.A. in Buddhist studies with Sanskrit and Tibetan Language from Nāropa University. Prior to her graduate studies at Rice University, Renée worked as an...
Andrew

Andrew Grant

Visiting Scholar
Geography
Andrew Grant (PhD 2016, UCLA) is a political geographer. His research on the effects of urbanization on Tibetans in Western China was supported by a Fulbright Hays Dissertation Research Fellowship. The journals Geographical Review and Asian Ethnicity have published his research. Andrew is currently writing a book about urbanization on the eastern Tibetan Plateau.
Adam

Adam Krug

Visiting Scholar
Religious Studies
Adam Krug is a Ph.D. candidate in Buddhist Studies and South Asian Religions in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His current research focuses on the Grub pa sde bdun or Seven Texts on Siddhi , a corpus of Indian tantric treatises from seven mahāsiddhas extant in Sanskrit and Tibetan that are recognized as one of the oldest corpuses of Indian mahāmudrā works. This...

Language Partners

Dolma Kyab

Dolma Kyab

DILS Amdo Tibetan Language Partner
Tibetan
Dolma Kyab is a Tibetan instructor who taught Tibetan grammar, history, and literature in Tibet for many years. He grew up in Amdo, Tibet and received two degrees, in Tibetan Literature and later in Chinese law. He is now a Tibetan writer and historian actively working on various literary projects. He is experienced in Chinese, Tibetan, and English. He lives in Westminster with his wife and, in his free time,...
Lhoppon Rechung

Lhoppon Rechung

DILS Lhasan Tibetan Language Partner
Tibetan
Lhoppön Rechung began his religious training at the age of five at Palyul Chö Khor Ling monastery. There, he trained until the age of fourteen under Lama Chöying Gyamtso, a Kagyu lama. From the age of fourteen to eighteen, he studied at the Sakya Dzongsar Institute under Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk, after which he spent two years at the Gelug Drepung University. At the age of twenty, Lhoppön Rechung Rinpoche entered...

Graduate Students

Mason Brown

Mason Brown

PhD Student
Ethnomusicology
Mason Brown , a PhD student in Ethnomusicology, focuses primarily on Tibetan music and culture, with an eye toward overlaps between liturgical music and contemporary popular forms, as well as rural folk traditions. His other research interests include Japanese Buddhist chant, American and Irish vernacular fiddle music, and violin manufacturing in the Industrial Revolution. Mason holds a double B.A. in Religious Studies and Music, with a minor in Tibetan language,...
Marielle Butters

Marielle Butters

PhD Student
Linguistics
Marielle Butters , a PhD student in Linguistics, works within the Tibeto-Burman family, particularly in the subfields of language documentation, historical linguistics and linguistic anthropology. Her research interests include negation, evidential systems and language in post-colonial settings.
Nathan J. Cook

Nathan J. Cook

PhD Student
Political Science
Nathan Cook is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science. His research interests include environmental policy, development studies, local governance, and quantitative methods. Nathan’s dissertation research uses community forestry in Nepal as a test case to understand the effects of large-scale local governance reforms on citizen behavior, poverty, and environmental outcomes, and he has undertaken fieldwork in the Middle Hills region of Nepal. He has also worked on...
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Jessica DiCarlo

PhD Student
Geography
Jessica DiCarlo is a PhD student in Geography and studies with Dr. Emily Yeh. Her research interests lie in critical development studies, political ecology, landscape change, and resource conflict. Her fascination with the Himalayan region was sparked nearly a decade ago as a Princeton-in-Asia fellow. Since, she has lived and worked in China, eastern Tibet, Nepal and India with research institutions and NGOs. Jessica has an MA in Development Practice...
anden

Anden Drolet

Master's Student
Anthropology
Anden Drolet, a masters student in cultural anthropology, studies in Central Bhutan. His research interests look at the intersection of Gross National Happiness, development and local frameworks of well-being.
Tracy

Tracy Fehr-Sardone

Sociology
Tracy Fehr Sardone is a Sociology PhD student whose research interests include international human rights and women’s rights, gender, social movements, and transitional justice in the context of Nepal. Tracy has a Master’s in International Studies and she has worked in Washington D.C. on African human rights issues and, most recently, in Kathmandu as a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Crisis Management Studies and as a Field Research...
Lee F-G

Lee Frankel-Goldwater

PhD Student
Environmental Studies and Design
Lee is a PhD student with the Environmental Studies and Design programs at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His research and professional efforts focus on using collaborative storytelling for grassroots community empowerment, networked learning, and developing new models of transformative environmental education. Recent projects and positions include a case study of the 100 Resilient Cities network, teaching Environmental Studies courses at Pace University, co-leading community projects in Costa Rica and...
Shae Frydenlund

Shae Frydenlund

PhD Student
Geography
Shae Frydenlund, a PhD student in Geography, studies with Professor Emily Yeh. As a human geographer, her research interests are labor, race and ethnicity, political ecology and feminist geopolitics. Shae's Master's work examined the experience of being non-Sherpa sherpa laborers in the Nepal mountaineering industry. Her PhD will focus on the experience of Burmese refugees and other ethnic/racial minorities as they integrate into Colorado labor markets. In her spare time,...
ben joffe

Ben Joffe

PhD Student
Anthropology
Ben Joffe is a cultural anthropology PhD candidate from South Africa who specializes in the anthropology of contemporary Tibet, Tibetan diaspora, Buddhism, and esotericism. His doctoral dissertation research is focused on Tibetan Buddhist non-celibate tantric ritual specialists, or ngakpa/ma who live outside of Tibet, and the globalization of Tibetan Buddhism. His work traces how the esoteric knowledge and charisma of these long-haired tantric Buddhist wizards is currently being mediated, circulated,...
Dawa Lokyitsang

Dawa Lokyitsang

PhD Student
Anthropology
Dawa Lokyitsang , a PhD student in Cultural Anthropology, works mostly with the Diaspora Tibetan exile community. Dawa's research interests include questions of citizenship, refugee subjectivity, and imagined communities created through trans-national spaces online.
Chu Paing

Chu Paing

PhD Student
Linguistics
Chu Paing, originally from Myanmar, is a PhD student in Sociocultural Linguistics, and an aspiring linguistic anthropologist. Her research interests include ethnography, majority/minority language dynamics, language and politics, language and identity, language maintenance and shift, language socialization, narrative, storytelling, Burmese, and Tibeto-Burman languages of Myanmar. She graduated from Queens College, The City University of New York, with a Bachelor Degree in General Linguistics in the Spring of 2017. Chu's undergraduate...
Ariela Rotenberg

Ariela Rotenberg

Master's Student
Anthropology
Ariela Rotenber, a Master's student in the Department of Anthropology, is a cultural anthropologist working primarily with Tibetan exile communities. Her research interests include issues of gender, nationhood, narrative, and technology.
Richa Shakya

Richa Shakya

Master's Student
Geography
Richa Shakya is a student of Geography whose research interest includes gender, gender role, and mobility in Nepal. She is studying various implication of human agencies when it comes to women's identity versus the expectation of gender roles.

Joshua Shelton

Master's Student
Religious Studies
Rupak Shrestha

Rupak Shrestha

PhD Student
Geography
Rupak Shrestha , a PhD student in the Department of Geography, researches primarily questions of extraterritorial sovereignty, citizenship, nationalism, and public space in the constrained spaces (re)produced by the politics of development. He is interested in understanding how people are rendered powerless through state mechanisms, and the ways in which the powerless counteract. Rupak is currently researching the processes through which Tibetans-in-exile exercise and negotiate political activism and Tibetan nationalism...
Dorje Tashi

Dorje Tashi

PhD Student
Geography
Dorje Tashi (Duojie Zhaxi), a PhD student in Geography at the University of Colorado-Boulder, researches primarily the intersection of environmentalism, agriculture, and culture on the Tibetan Plateau. Dorje earned his Associate Degree (Tibetan and English) at Qinghai Normal University in China, and received his MA in Environmental Education from Miriam College, the Philippines. Dorje has worked for A.S.I.A (Association for International Solidarity in Asia) for five years as a project...

Emily Volkmar

Master's Student
Geography
Drew Zackary

Drew (Burditt) Zackary

PhD Student
Anthropology
Drew Zackary , a PhD student in Cultural Anthropology, researches the effect conservation areas have on people living within them. Currently his field site is the Kachenjunga Conservation Area in northeast Nepal. Questions about decentralization, land tenure, ethnic identity and perceptions development are of importance in his current fieldwork. Drew has done previous work on biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation and livelihood in Uganda and Idaho. He received a M.A...

Past Members

Sierra Gladfelter

Sierra Gladfelter

Master's Student
Geography
Sierra Gladfelter graduated with a MA in Geography in 2017. Beginning in August 2017, Sierra's Fulbright-Nehru research project will examine opportunities for local adaptive strategies and technocratic interventions led by the Indian government to collaboratively address the impacts of climate-induced disasters in Uttarakhand and Ladakh. Specifically, she is investigating how rural communities have historically coped with floods and droughts and mitigated their effects locally as well as what current barriers...
Ariana Maki

Ariana Maki

Lecturer
Art and Art History
Ariana Maki taught courses on Buddhist visual culture and contemporary Tibetan art for History of Art and Religious Studies, among other topics. Her research interests include the relationships between text, politics and visual representation, the development of Himalayan visual arts, and the intersections of art and ritual. She is co-author and editor of Artful Contemplation: Collections from the National Museum of Bhutan (2014) and recently completed editing of a pilgrimage...
GBM-1

Galen Murton

PhD
Geography
In August 2017, I will join the Department of Integrated Science and Technology (ISAT) at James Madison University (JMU) as a tenure-track Assistant Professor with teaching responsibilities in the Geographic Science Program ( https://www.jmu.edu/gs/ ). With over 200 undergraduate students as well as several dozen international graduate students, the Geographic Science Program is one of JMU’s rapidly expanding degree programs. Hired specifically as an instructor of human geography, my classroom...
Sonam Nyenda

Sonam Nyenda

Master's Student
Religious Studies
Sonam Nyenda completed his MA in Religious Studies with a specialization in Bhutanese Buddhism. His primary research interest in this area concerned, among others, tantric rituals, the significance of art and iconography and their function within ritual and practice, and tantric ritual manuals. He worked on the Vajrakila tradition of Sumthrang Sumdrup Chodzong Gompa (est. 1228 AD) in central Bhutan. Sonam examined in particular the art and Kangsoel ritual, which...
Eben Yonnetti

Eben Yonnetti

Master's Student
Religious Studies
Eben Yonnetti will be continuing his research on contemporary Tibetan Buddhist translation and transmission during a Fulbright IIE and PhD program in Religious Studies. During his Fulbright, Eben will study how Tibetan Buddhist teachings and practices are mobilized to support environmental stewardship projects in response to climate change. Investigating several innovative environmental projects spearheaded by religious leaders in Ladakh, India through ethnographic methods and textual and discourse analysis, he aims...