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Nepal's Ongoing Political Transformation: A review of post-2006 literature on conflict, the state, identities, and environments*

  • SARA SHNEIDERMAN (a1), LUKE WAGNER (a2), JACOB RINCK (a3), AMY L. JOHNSON (a4) and AUSTIN LORD (a5)...
Abstract
Abstract

This review article provides a reading guide to scholarly literature published in English about Nepal's political transformation since 2006, when Nepal's decade-long civil conflict between Maoist and state forces formally ended. The article is structured around four major themes: (1) the Maoist insurgency or ‘People's War’; (2) state formation and transformation; (3) identity politics; and (4) territorial and ecological consciousness. We also address the dynamics of migration and mobility in relation to all of these themes. Ultimately, we consider the Maoist movement as one element in a much broader process of transformation, which with the benefit of hindsight we can situate in relation to several other contemporaneous trajectories, including: democratization, identity-based mobilization, constitutional nationalism, international intervention, territorial restructuring, migration and the remittance economy, and the emergence of ecological and other new forms of consciousness. By looking across the disciplines at scholarship published on all of these themes, we aim to connect the dots between long-standing disciplinary traditions of scholarship on Nepal and more recent approaches to understanding the country's transformation.

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We thank Yale University's Department of Anthropology for hosting the year-long graduate seminar in 2013–2014 out of which this article emerged, and K. Sivaramakrishnan for nurturing the idea behind it. Within our five-author collective, we acknowledge the following organizations that supported elements of our individual scholarship during the review and writing period: the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship; the Fulbright Commission in Nepal; the National Science Foundation; the Wenner-Gren Foundation; the Department of Anthropology, the Institute of Asian Research, and the Hampton Research Fund at the University of British Columbia; and the following units at Yale University: Department of Anthropology, Department of Sociology, MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, South Asian Studies Council, and Yale Himalaya Initiative. We thank the many friends and colleagues who have shaped our thinking and writing over time, and the family members who have supported our work. We cannot name everyone individually, but recognize the many important conversations that took place in Nepal at the Carter Center, the Cornell Nepal Study Program, Martin Chautari, Social Science Baha, the Central Departments of Sociology and Anthropology at Tribhuvan University, and Patipa Palace. We are grateful to our four anonymous reviewers, whose recommendations significantly improved this article. Finally, we thank the editors of Modern Asian Studies, especially Norbert Peabody, for their interest, patience, and guidance.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

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D. N. Gellner (ed.), Borderland Lives in Northern South Asia, Duke University Press, Durham, 2013.

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S. Hausner and J. Sharma , ‘On the way to India: Nepali rituals of border crossing’, in Borderland Lives in Northern South Asia, D. N. Gellner (ed.), Duke University Press, Durham, 2013, pp. 94116.

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C. K. Lal , ‘Ramraja Prasad Singh: the warrior revolutionary’, in Revolution in Nepal: An Anthropological and Historical Approach to the People's War, M. Lecomte-Tilouine (ed.), Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2013, pp. 7596.

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S. Shneiderman , Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2015.

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J. Whelpton , A History of Nepal, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005.

J. Whelpton , ‘Political violence in Nepal from unification to janandolan I’, in Revolution in Nepal: An Anthropological and Historical Approach to the People's War, M. Lecomte-Tilouine (ed.), Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2013, pp. 2774.

R. Wilson , The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Legitimizing the Post-Apartheid State, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2001.

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Modern Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0026-749X
  • EISSN: 1469-8099
  • URL: /core/journals/modern-asian-studies
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