This page is devoted to Roundtable discussions proposed for the 3rd ANHS Himalayan Studies Conference to be held at Yale University, New Haven Connecticut, Friday 14 – Sunday 16 March 2014.

Roundtables are designed as a forum for intensive discussion, based on a set of pre-circulated readings and shared interests.

108: Encountering Bio-medicine in Nepal
120: Nepal’s 2013 Constituent Assembly Elections
123: Political Asylum and the Provision of Expertise:Professional and Personal Considerations
127: Rethinking of the Center-Periphery Paradigm in the Han-minority Relations in China
131: The Himalaya and Tibet in the North American Classroom
132: The Past and Future of the journal Himalaya: Former and Current Editors in Conversation

108: Encountering Bio-medicine in Nepal
Organizers: Steven FolmarWake Forest University, and Mary CameronFlorida Atlantic University

Innovation, creativity, plurality, scarcity, and competition mark the health care landscape in Nepal.  As the modernization/westernization of medicine in Nepal continues to accelerate and reaches into all areas of contemporary life, the conditions are created for imaginative reconfigurations of western/allopathic/scientifically-based health programming and medical intervention, especially within indigenous and community-based systems.  In this round table, the discussants will explore the innovative and imaginative potential of defining and addressing illness and healing in this dynamic environment. We will explore such topics as volunteerism and medical clinics, the commercialization of indigenous medicines like Ayurveda, health care in insecure environments, the melding of science and faith in psychiatric medicine, health care resource scarcity, reliability of national health survey data, caste and ethnicity as determinants and shapers of health and health seeking, and the changing context of medical decision making in the family.


Mary Cameron, Florida Atlantic University
Steven Folmar, Wake Forest University
Brandon Kohrt, Duke University
Catherine Sanders, The ISIS Foundation
Lydia Sandy, Wake Forest University
Judith Justice, University of California, San Francisco


120: Nepal’s 2013 Constituent Assembly Elections
Organizer: Luke WagnerYale University

On 19 November 2013, Nepal held elections for a new Constituent Assembly (CA). In this roundtable, participants will reflect on the dynamics observed in Nepal’s CA elections and will discuss these dynamics in the broader context of Nepal’s political history and emergent political processes. The roundtable will include participants who have observed the elections first-hand, both as formal credentialed election observers and as independent observers.


Tulasi Acharya, Florida Atlantic University
Amy Johnson, Yale University
Mahendra Lawoti, Western Michigan University
Elijiah Lewien, The Carter Center
Jacob Rinck, Yale University
Luke Wagner, Yale University


123: Political Asylum and the Provision of Expertise:Professional and Personal Considerations
Organizer: Kathleen Gallagher, St. Mary’s University

For anyone that has participated in the asylum process through the provision of expert affidavits, the process can be enormously rewarding, sometimes anxiety producing (in light of the stakes and the reasons for asylum) and also raise personal and professional questions.  Our roundtable addresses some of the issues and challenges raised by this process, including:  How ‘expertise’ as affidavit providers is determined and appraised;  how ‘softer’ social sciences (such as my own field of study- anthropology- which arguably straddles humanities and the social sciences) evaluate risk and reprisal for the asylum seeker;  and safety concerns for the ‘expert’ as we move back and forth between field sites that are often unstable.  While our starting point is the provision of expertise, anyone interested in this topic is most welcome, as are other points of discussion.  As per our regional affiliation, our discussion will be grounded in the political asylum process as it pertains to asylum seekers of Himalayan origin.


Carole McGranahan, University of Colorado
Sara Shneiderman, Yale University
Tina Shrestha, Cornell University
Kathleen Gallagher, St. Mary’s University
Jim Fisher, Carleton College
Heather Hindman, The University of Texas at Austin
Mary CameronFlorida Atlantic University
Lauren Leve, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


127: Rethinking of the Center-Periphery Paradigm in the Han-Minority Relations in China
Organizer: Tenzin JinbaYale University

The Han are often imagined to be at the center while minority communities are situated on the periphery either in the official discourse or in the popular discourse in China. The academia tends to go along with this framework, but there have emerged new voices to challenge the Han-centrality notion and to urge to look at the Han-minority relations with new angles and in broader cultural and sociopolitical contexts. In line with this new direction, this roundtable will discuss critical perspectives to question this center-periphery paradigm, and simultaneously calls for the debate on the development of “Critical Ethnic Studies” in China field as well as the dialogue on how to bridge the Han and ethnic/minority studies.


Tami Blumenfield, Furman University
Chris Coggins, Bard College at Simon’s Rock
Matthew S. Erie, Princeton University
Magnus Fiskesjö, Cornell University
Jonathan Lipman, Mount Holyoke College
Xiuyu Wang, Washington State University
Benno Ryan Weiner, Appalachian State University
Ming Xue, UCLA
Huasha Zhang, Yale University
Yinong Zhang, Shanghai University


131: The Himalaya and Tibet in the North American Classroom
Organizers: Andrew NelsonUniversity of North Texas, and Sienna CraigDartmouth College

For any undergraduate course that deals with distant geographic areas, multiple challenges exist for instructors. This is particularly true for the greater Himalayan region known in Euro-American (and indeed global) popular imagination through ‘Shangri-La’ romanticism as well as exoticism of its religious and sociolinguistic diversity, its mountains, even its approaches to biodiversity conservation or cultural preservation. For this double roundtable discussion, speakers will address how they respond to the challenges of teaching about the Himalaya and Tibet in the North American undergraduate classroom. Specifically, the first roundtable will speak to what occurs in or through the classroom, while the second roundtable will discuss how and to what ends Himalayan and Tibetan Studies figures in to the institutional priorities of our colleges and universities.

In the first roundtable, speakers will reflect on specific classroom experiences and pedagogical insights from teaching courses related to the Himalayas and Tibet in North American college / university settings. While few students will ever travel to the area, even fewer will pursue a career that engages with the academic debates from the area. If familiar with the region, students often are attracted to the mountain appeal of ‘Everest’ or ‘Sherpa’ names, the international fame of ‘Gurkha’ soldiers, or the mystique of Hinduism or Buddhism. Others might be pulled by the political events of the Chinese occupation of Tibet, separatist movements of Kashmir and India’s northeast, ‘national happiness’ policies of Bhutan, or Maoist revolution and royal massacre of Nepal. How do instructors build on or redirect interest from these sensational narratives to the more structural issues from the region? How do instructors make the region relevant to students who have little to no familiarity with the area? How do instructors engage students in explorations of primary materials? What has worked in the classroom? What has failed?

Moving from the classroom to the college/university, in the second roundtable speakers will address the place of this part of the world within the institutional framework of undergraduate education.  Particularly at a moment when “area studies” is necessary but also a challenge in terms of long-term institutional support, how do instructors assess the position of Himalayan and Tibetan studies? How do courses devoted to the region fit within the demands of specific departments, university-wide curriculum and planning, study abroad experiences, library resources, and external funding sources?

Classroom Experience
Chair: Andrew Nelson, University of North Texas

Heather Hindman, University of Texas-Austin
Isabelle Henrion-Dourcy, Université Laval
Geoff Childs, Washington University

Student Participants:
Elizabeth Joy Reynolds, Columbia University
Hannah R. G. McGehee, Dartmouth University
Arbeena Thapa, University of Texas

Institutional Questions
Chair: Sienna Craig, Dartmouth College

Sara McClintock, Emory University
Todd Lewis, Holy Cross
Andrew Quintman, Yale University
Alexander Gardner, Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation
Robert Barnett, Columbia University
Kathryn March, Cornell University
Kurtis SchaefferUniversity of Virginia


132: The Past and Future of the journal Himalaya: Former and Current Editors in Conversation
Organizer: John Metz, Northern Kentucky University

ANHS’s flagship journal, Himalaya, has evolved from a newsletter in the early 1980s to a leading publication on all aspects of Himalayan studies.  This session is structured as a roundtable bringing together editors from all periods of the journal’s evolution, including the current editors, in order to: provide ANHS members and other Himalayan scholars with an overview of how Himalaya has developed to its current status; allow the current editors to explain their vision of the future of the journal; and solicit the audience’s ideas, opinions and questions about how Himalaya should move forward.  This session should be especially useful for those wishing to publish their research in Himalaya and who are interested in scholarly publishing and knowledge dissemination.

Kathryn March, Cornell University, and David Holmberg, Cornell University
William Fisher, Clark University and Bruce Owens, Wheaton College
Barbara Brower, Portland State University
Arjun Guneratne, Macalester College
Mark Turin, Yale University, and Sienna Craig, Dartmouth College

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