Current Research

I am currently engaged in four major research projects:

Expertise, Labour and Mobility in Nepal’s Post-Conflict, Post-Disaster Reconstruction: Construction, Law and Finance as Sites of Social Transformation

This project is funded by a three-year Social Science and Humanities Council (SSHRC) Partnership Development Grant that began in mid-2017. The grant focuses on assembling an international network of scholars, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations that are currently engaged with Nepal’s reconstruction after its devastating 2015 earthquakes, and build research capacity in Canada and Nepal in order to investigate and improve post-disaster reconstruction in mountainous regions, especially in contexts of ongoing political transformation. As the project develops I will share more information.


Restructuring Life: Citizenship, Territory, and Religiosity in Nepal’s State of Transformation

Funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and a UBC Hampton Faculty Fellowship from 2014-2017, this project is an ethnography of post-conflict state restructuring that seeks to understand how Nepali citizens experienced the process of state transformation from the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the decade-long civil conflict between Maoist and state forces until the 2015 constitutional promulgation. It also includes an exploration of trans-Himalayan citizenship across the historical and contemporary borders of Nepal, India, and Tibetan areas of China. I am currently completing in the analysis and writing phase of this project.


Infrastructures of Democracy: State-Building as Everyday Practice in Nepal’s Agrarian Districts

I am a co-investigator on this five-year project which is based at the University of Toronto, and led by Professor Katharine Rankin. Through a focus on infrastructure governance, the research explores how everyday practices at the sub-national scale constitute state building, and how they enable or constrain transformative social change. Infrastructures of Democracy references the contested physical infrastructures (especially the project’s topical focus on rural roads), as well as the social infrastructures through which governance transpires and aspirations for democracy are pursued. In so doing, the research engages with the interdisciplinary literatures on the ‘politics and poetics of infrastructure’ (Larkin 2013) and on the governmentality and cultural politics of development.


Urban Growth, Land-Use Change, and Growing Vulnerability in the Greater Himalaya Mountain Range across India, Nepal and Bhutan

I am a collaborator on this project with principal investigator Karen Seto at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, co-investigator Alark Saxena at Yale University, co-investigator Mark Turin at UBC, and collaborator Prakash Tiwari at Kumaun University, and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development in Nepal. Further information is available here:

http://environment.yale.edu/news/article/nasa-grant-to-explore-land-use-changes-and-threats-in-vulnerable-himalayan-regions/

https://www.ubyssey.ca/science/nasa-anthropology-himayala/