Several members of the SSHRC PDG at Wreck Beach, UBC during the Start-Up Workshop in Sep 2017.                    Photo by Emily Amburgey.

Aijazi, Omer


University of British Columbia – Educational Studies


I am a PhD Candidate in Educational Studies at UBC. My interdisciplinary research examines social repair after natural disasters in Northern Pakistan and Kashmir. I explore the social labor undertaken by disaster survivors to reconcile the betrayals implicit in their social and natural worlds with the protective guarantees they previously offered. My research interlocutors are marginal members of their communities and through them I seek to understand disaster recovery as enacted within everyday lived spaces. I work with reflexive and aesthetically engaged research methods and the opportunities they provide for accessing lived and felt experiences.

2014. “We should be re-settled there”: On the limits of humanitarianism. Tanqeed: A Magazine of Politics and Culture, 7, 44-50. (special issue: Pakistan beyond Tremors and Terror). Click here to access the article.

2015. Religion in spaces of social disruption: Re-reading the public transcript of disaster relief in Pakistan. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, 33(1), 28-54. (special issue: Religious Actors in Disaster Relief. Click here to access the article.

2016. Who is Chandni bibi? Survival as embodiment in disaster disrupted Northern Pakistan. WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly, 44(1), 95-110. (themed issue: Survival). Click here to access the article.

Amburgey, Emily

Graduate Student

University of British Columbia - PhD Candidate - Anthropology


Emily Amburgey is a PhD student in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. She completed her M.A. in International Development Studies at the University of Amsterdam, and conducted ethnographic research on identity politics and development in Lower Mustang, Nepal. Her current doctoral research looks at how contemporary forms of seasonal and permanent labour migration occurring from Mustang, Nepal to Northeast India and New York City transform local livelihoods in relation to class, gender, and political subjectivity at a household and community level. She explores how migrant returnees engage with broader identity-based movements and economic transformation in South Asia, and how these experiences reconfigure notions of value at home – in economic, political, and cultural terms.

2018. “Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Workshop,” HIMALAYA, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalaya Studies: Vol. 38: No. 2. Article 17. Click here to access the article.

Balaz-Munn, Courtney

Graduate Student

University of Toronto - Masters Student - Geography

Courtney Balaz-Munn is a master’s student in Geography at the University of Toronto, Canada. Her research interests include the discourse and practice of transitional justice and reconciliation processes, emotional geographies of disaster and development, and nation-building as a state project. Her thesis research explores media and expert discourses of nation-building and nationalism in post-earthquake reconstruction and post-conflict reconciliation processes in Nepal.

Baniya, Jeevan

Research Coordinator and Advisor

Social Science Baha - Assistant Director & Researcher / Tribhuvan University - Faculty, MIRD and CPDS


Jeevan Baniya is the Assistant Director & Researcher at Social Science Baha, a not-for profit research organization in Nepal. He is a PhD in Political Science from University of Oslo, Norway. He has been a teaching faculty at MIRD and CPDS Tribhuvan University. He briefly worked for the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), the Government of Nepal, as a Social Inclusion and Grievance Management Advisor for the Rural Housing Reconstruction Programme (RHRP). He has been involved in numerous study related to state and society relations, disaster, GESI, labour migration, democracy and governance etc.

2015. "Migration and Resilience: Experiences from Nepal's 2015 Earthquake". Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility. Co-authored with Bandita Sijapati, Anish Bhandari, Ashim Bhattarai, Sambriddhi Kharel, Amrita Limbu, Dinesh Pathak, Nabin Rawal, and Prakriti Thami. Click here to access the paper.

2016. "Disaster, Disability, & Difference: A Study of the Challenges Faced by Person with Disabilities in Post-Earthquake Nepal". Published by Social Science Baha and the United Nations Development Programme in Nepal: Kathmandu. Co-authored with Austin Lord, Bandita Sijapati, OBindra Chand, and Tracy Ghale. Click here to access the report.

2017. "Tired of Waiting". Op-ed, The Kathmandu Post, August 9, 2017.

Binks, James

Undergraduate Student

University of British Columbia - BA Candidate - Anthropology

James Binks has been a student Research Assistant on the SSHRC-funded 'Nepal Reconstruction' Partnership Development Grant since May 2017. In early 2018, he was awarded an Arts Undergraduate Research Award to create a UBC-based online library database to compile relevant scholarly, governmental, and non-governmental materials around Nepal's post-earthquake reconstruction. He has also served as an interim Program Assistant for UBC's Himalaya Program, and presented a paper on tourism in Nepal at the South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest in March 2018. James Binks is currently constructing his Honours Thesis in Anthropology focused on the interface between South Asian and western Himalayan mobilities, infrastructures, and religiosities. He calls upon and utilizes his experiences from India and Nepal, including his Hindi and Nepali-language skills, to inform and conduct his research.

Chang, Stephanie


University of British Columbia -  Faculty - School of Community & Regional Planning


Emmrich, Christoph


University of Toronto - Faculty - Buddhist Studies


I am associate professor for Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto, where I teach South and Southeast Asian Buddhism with a focus on the Newars and the Burmese, as well as Sanskrit, Pali, Nepali, Newar, and Burmese language and literature and their embodiment in public events. My research sites are the monasteries, homes, public spaces, and libraries of Hindus and Buddhists. My conversation partners are predominantly ritual specialists, most of them women, as well as girl children and adolescents. I am particularly interested in how historical change is recorded in the gendered and age-specific interruptions and readjustments of ritual and textual practice. Specific to the project, my interest is in how the above mentioned groups having been made to negotiate the change caused by the earthquake and how these historical interruptions and readjustments in infrastructure may have continued and initiated a process of change in rites, their writing, and, more broadly, their linguistic articulation.

Hacker, Katherine


University of British Columbia - Faculty - Art History


Katherine Hacker is an art historian and member of the Steering Committee of the Himalaya Program at UBC. In 2015-2017 she held a Hampton Faculty Fellowship for a project entitled “Architectural Restoration and Reconstruction in Post-earthquake Nepal: Visual Documentation for a Sustainable Rebuilding Plan for the Historic Town of Sankhu.” Her current research continues to explore reconstruction in both urban and rural contexts.  She is particularly interested in debates around cultural heritage, and in the roles of architects, traditional builders and craftspeople, as well as UNESCO and NGOs in the rebuilding process. Her previous research among craftspeople in central and eastern India informs these projects in Nepal.

Hirslund, Dan


University of Copenhagen - Faculty - Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies


I am Dan V. Hirslund, a social anthropologist from the University of Copenhagen. I have worked on involuntary displacement in Sri Lanka during the civil war, and later, as part of my PhD project, on the transformation of the Nepali Maoist movement from a rural revolutionary to an urban parliamentary force. Since last year, I have been engaged in a project  on precarious laborers in the construction industry in Kathmandu, a project which I feel feeds concretely into the post-disaster reconstruction theme in our common project. I look very much forward to working with all of you and spending some lovely days in Vancouver!

2014. "The Politics of Post-conflict Democratization: Justice and Insurgency after the War" Cultural Anthropology Hot Spots Forum, In "The Politics of "Post-conflict": On the Ground in South Asia"

2016. "The divide within". Op-ed, The Kathmandu Post, November 14, 2016.

KC, Sampada


I recently completed an MSc in Economics from the University of Warwick (2018) with a dissertation project that focused on the Nepal earthquake. Previously, I studied for an undergraduate degree in Economics and South Asian Studies at Yale (2015). I have worked as a Research Associate for a team of economists with the Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) on a project related to female labour force participation with a sample of 9000 households in rural Madhya Pradesh in India. Currently, I am a Research Assistant for Dr. Eva Vivalt who is an economist at the Australian National University, focusing on various projects related to impact evaluations of development programs. Other experiences include collaborating with a school in Dolakha, Nepal to reconstruct its school building with funds secured through the Davis Projects for Peace, and carrying out research for undergraduate thesis in South Asian Studies, using ethnographic methods to understand the development landscape in Humla, Nepal.

Lauta, Kristian


University of Copenhagen - Faculty - Law


Kristian Cedervall Lauta is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen and chairman of the Copenhagen Center for Disaster Research (COPE). He is author of Disaster Law (Routledge 2015, 170 pp.), analysing how and why the field of disaster law has emerged. He is a leading expert within disaster law in general, the intersection of disasters and human rights in particular, and the main author of numerous international peer-reviewed articles on law and disaster risk. He is a senior editor of the European Journal of Risk Regulation and has edited special issues of the European Journal of Risk Regulation and the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. He is a member of the steering committee of the University of Copenhagen’s Center for Sustainability Science and a co-PI of several international research projects. Kristian has been a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, Oxford, and Cambridge.

Le Billon, Philippe


University of British Columbia - Faculty - Geography


Philippe Le Billon is Professor at the University of British Columbia with the Department of Geography and the Liu Institute for Global Issues. Prior to joining UBC, he was a Research Associate with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Working on linkages between environment, development and security, he has published widely on natural resource governance and investigates socio-environmental relations and commodity networks linking spaces of exploitation, consumption and regulation. Other research interests include corruption, the political economy of war, and post-disaster reconstruction.

2018. Dinesh Paudel & Philippe Le Billon "Geo-Logics of Power: Disaster Capitalism, Himalayan Materialities, and the Geopolitical Economy of Reconstruction in Post-Earthquake Nepal", Geopolitics. Click here to access the paper.

Limbu, Bina


Social Science Baha - Research Associate

Bina Limbu is a fresh graduate in Masters in Development Studies from Kathmandu University. Her thesis was on “Exploring Rural Urban Linkages through Educational Migration” in Dhankuta district of Eastern Nepal, which was funded by University of Copenhagen under “Building Stronger Universities II”. Prior to joining Baha, she worked as a junior researcher in Nepal Institute of Social and Environment Research. Being a US Embassy Youth Council member 2017/18, she is also working on Civic Engagement Project titled “Strengthening Development through Agripreneurship” in Parbat district. As a budding social science researcher, she feels privileged to be a part of SSHRC research project and learn from experienced and renounced academicians and scholars.

Moore, Amber

Graduate Student

University of Toronto - PhD Candidate - Religious Studies


I have completed the first year of my doctorate at the University of Toronto's department of Religious Studies under the supervision of Newar Buddhist scholar Professor Christoph Emmrich.  However, my background is in Tibetan Buddhist Studies with a undergraduate degree from Kathmandu University. My doctoral research focuses on the historical context, Tibetan-Newar interface and ritual composition of Sankhu, Nepal as described in Barnavajra Vajracharya"s Newar text entitled the Manisaila Mahavadana.

Since April I have spent 3 months working with the Vajracharya and Sakya communities of Sankhu where most of their dwellings, historical monuments and shrines were decimated in the 2015 earthquakes. Many families have not even been able to clear debris from their land,  so I have been assisting them in the processing of their retribution claims with government and municipality. At this point, I have become quite familiar with both the extent of damage and reconstruction  in this vicinity and  also the lengthy application processes involved in dealing with locally elected representatives, engineers and government officials.

Mulmi, Subin


Forum for Women, Law, and Development

Subin Mulmi is a Lawyer and Researcher working on issues related to human rights. His research work includes studies on subjects such as citizenship, legal identity, gender, affirmative action and statelessness. In particular he was one of the researchers for studies on 'Acquisition of Citizenship Certificates in Nepal: Estimation and Projection' and 'Legal Analysis of Citizenship Laws of Nepal'. He is currently engaged in the research on 'Women's ownership of land and house, and its impact on their economic empowerment', 'Acquisition of birth registration and other vital events registration certificate in Nepal', and 'Women's special opportunities in Nepal'.

Pandey, Bishnu


British Columbia Institute of Technology - Faculty - School of Construction and the Environment

Parajulee, Ramjee


Capilano University - Faculty - Political Science

I am interested in studying the prospects and challenges of democracy in developing countries, especially from political, socio-economic and developmental perspectives. My focus is mainly on the interrelationship of democratic values, institutions and political actors as they promote or hinder the process of democratic transition and consolidation.  In addition, I also explore opportunities to engage local communities in Nepal related projects.

Paudel, Dinesh


Appalachian State University - Faculty - Sustainable Development Department


I am an assistant professor in the Sustainable Development Department at Appalachian State University, USA. I worked for community forestry programs in Nepal for several years before I started academic research and teaching. My current research programs focus on: relationships between international development, environmental changes and social revolutions in Nepal/Himalayas; the dynamic relationships between the commons and capital; post-earthquake reconstruction, disaster capitalism and geopolitics; and the regional geopolitics of infrastructure development in the Himalayas.

2018. Dinesh Paudel & Philippe Le Billon "Geo-Logics of Power: Disaster Capitalism, Himalayan Materialities, and the Geopolitical Economy of Reconstruction in Post-Earthquake Nepal", Geopolitics. Click here to access the paper.

Rankin, Katharine


University of Toronto - Faculty - Geography & Program in Planning


Katharine N. Rankin is Professor of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Cultural Politics of Markets: Economic Liberalization and Social Change in Nepal (Pluto Press and University of Toronto Press 2004) and currently PI of a 5-year, collaborative research project, Infrastructures of Democracy: State Building as Everyday Practice in Nepal’s Agrarian Districts (see: Infrastructures of Democracy). Her academic publishing focuses on broad research interests in the areas of the politics of planning and development, feminist and critical theory, market formation, social economy and community development.

2016. Roads of Change: Political Transition and State Formation in Nepal's Agrarian Districts. Co-authored with Andrea J. Nightingale, Pushpa Hamal, and Tulasi S. Sigdel. Click here to access the paper.

2017. "Political Economies and Political Rationalities of Road Building in Nepal". Co-Authored with Tulasi S. Sigdel, Lagan Rai, Shyam Kunwar, and Pushpa Hamal. Click here to access the paper.

Ongoing. Infrastructures of Democracy: State Building as Everyday Practice in Nepal's Agrarian Districts

Rawal, Nabin

Senior Researcher

Social Science Baha - Research Associate Mentor / Tribhuvan University Faculty

Nabin Rawal holds a Masters in Anthropology from the Central Department of Anthropology (CDA), Tribhuvan University (TU), Kirtipur Nepal, and is currently a faculty at the Central Department of Anthropology in TU. His major areas of interest include anthropological studies of infrastructures, pharmaceuticals and health, gender relations and ethnographic research among others. He has been currently nominated to act as a Mentor to the three researchers  in Social Science Baha (SSB) that are part of the research project “Expertise, Labour and Mobility in Nepal’s Post-Conflict, Post-Disaster Reconstruction: Construction, Law and Finance as Domains of Social Transformations.

2015. "Migration and Resilience: Experiences from Nepal's 2015 Earthquake". Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility. Co-authored with Bandita Sijapati, Jeevan Baniya, Anish Bhandari, Ashim Bhattarai, Sambriddhi Kharel, Amrita Limbu, Dinesh Pathak, and Prakriti Thami. Click here for full citation details and to view the paper.

Shneiderman, Sara

Project Lead / Co-Applicant

University of British Columbia - Faculty - Anthropology and the Institute of Asian Research


I am a socio-cultural anthropologist working in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, India, and China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region, and serve as an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology as well as in UBC’s new School of Public Policy and Global Affairs/Institute of Asian Research. My previous research focused on ethnicity, ritual, and cross-border mobility across the Himalayas, as detailed in my first book, Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India. I have also published several articles about Nepal’s Maoist movement; ethnic classification, affirmative action, and the politics of recognition in South Asia; and borders and citizenship in the Himalaya. Since the 2015 earthquakes devastated the homes and livelihoods of my friends and research collaborators in the districts of Dolakha and Sindhupalchok, I have endeavored to support relief and reconstruction efforts through engaged anthropological work. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to collaborate with Nepali and other international colleagues on this Partnership Development Grant to better synchronize and mobilized transdisciplinary knowledge about post-disaster reconstruction in contexts of ongoing political transformation.

2015. “Rebuilding Thangmi Communities After Nepal’s 2015 Earthquakes” University of Pennsylvania Press Blog.

2015. “Dots on the Map: Anthropological Locations and Responses to Nepal’s Earthquakes”Cultural Anthropology Hot Spots Forum, In “Aftershocked: Reflections on the 2015 Earthquakes in Nepal”

2016. “Nepal’s Ongoing Political Transformation: a Review of Post-2006 Literature on Conflict, the State, Identities, and Environments”. Modern Asian Studies 35 50(6): 2041-2114. Co-authored with Luke Wagner, Jacob Rinck, Amy L. Johnson, and Austin Lord. Click here to access the article. Click here for full citation details.

2017. “Citizenship, Gender and Statelessness in Nepal Before and After the 2015 Constitution”Discover Society Blog, September 6, 2017. Co-authored with Subin Mulmi.

2018. "Temple Building in Secularising Nepal: Materializing Religion and Ethnicity in a State of Transformation". In Tolerance, Secularization and Democratic Politics in South Asia. Edited by Humeira Iqtidar and Tanika Sarkar. Cambridge University Press. 

2018. "Expertise, Labour and Mobility in Nepal's Post-Conflict, Post-Disaster Reconstruction". Lecture presented as part of Wall Scholar Speaker Series at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, UBC. Click here to watch the lecture and for more information.

2019. “Identity, Society, and State: Citizenship and Inclusion in Nepal” in The Politics of Change: Reflections on Contemporary Nepal: 83-108. Edited by Deepak Thapa. Co-authored with Janak Rai. Kathmandu: Social Science Baha. Click here for citation details and full download in English, and in Nepali.

Shrestha, Ratna


University of British Columbia - Lecturer, Vancouver School of Economics


Ratna K. Shrestha is a faculty member from the Vancouver School of Economics and Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia. He teaches both undergraduate and MBA/MHA courses. His recent publications include: Menus of Price-quantity Contracts for Inducing the Truth in Environmental Regulation. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 83(May): 1-7, 2017 and Reforming Healthcare Insurance Policy in Nepal: A Self-Financing Model. A Book Chapter, IUCN/CFFN, 2015. Recently, he has been working on developing mathematical models that can explain the interaction between political stability and economic growth.

Subedi, Prakash Chandra


Social Science Baha - Research Associate


In addition to my involvement with this SSHRC-funded research, I have worked on research on 'Policy Issues and Evidences on Increasing Fallow Land and Food Threats in Nepal' conducted by college of development studies. I completed master degree in Development Studies from Purbanchal University as well Master in Rural Development from Tribhuvan University. My research interest includes land issues relating to food sufficiency and food sovereignty, community development and disaster, social construction of disaster, disaster capitalism. My research work includes studies on -'Crop production and food sufficiency of family farmers in Kavrepalanchowk district, Nepal'. I too assisted in conducting academic research on 'Migration and its impact on women and their domestic food availability' (cases of Hasuliya, Phulwari and Pawera VDC of Kailali district, Nepal.) in 2017, as well in research on 'Child friendly education to the disadvantages in Bhaktipur VDC of Sarlahi district, Nepal' in 2016 and in research on 'economics of sugarcane farming: a case study of Sarlahi district of Nepal' in 2015. 

2016. "Crop production and food sufficiency of family farmers in Kavrepalanchowk district of Nepal", research paper presented at the 10th Global Summit on Food Processing & Technology, San Antonio, Dec 2016. Click here for the paper abstract and details.

Suji, Manoj


Social Science Baha - Research Associate

Manoj Suji is involved in several research projects focused on disaster preparedness and post-earthquake reconstruction, infrastructure development, community forest governance, gender, minority, Migration and Foreign Employment. He holds Master’s in Anthropology from Tribhuvan University and his Master’s thesis analyzes and explores the process of crafting local institutions and dynamics of power relation in community managed micro-hydro with case study from  the rural village of western Nepal. He worked with Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware, USA in a research team focusing on the impact of 2015 Earthquake Nepal on health services delivery and medical decision-making, and maternal and child health. He also worked at Asian Development Bank Nepal as an intern researcher and conducted research on rural energy (micro-hydro) from the social inclusion perspective. He has published on humanitarian aid and role of NGOs, maternal and child health, infant and young children feeding in emergency (IYCFE), social inclusion and exclusion, development, politics, minority and gender. His research interests include globalization, infrastructure development, politics, gender, minority, social science, technology, media and disaster preparedness, maternal and child health, infant and Young Children Feeding in Emergency.

2016. "Trauma, Victims, Time, Changing Organizations and the Nepal 2015 Earthquake". International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 34 (3): 345-375. Co-authored with Samantha Penta, Sarah DeYoung, and Daryl Yoder-Bontrager. Click here for full citation details.

2018. “Maternal perceptions of infant feeding and health in the context of the 2015 Nepal earthquake". Journal of Human Lactation 1 (2): 1-11. Co-authored with Sarah DeYoung and Hannah Southall. Click here for full citation details.

2018. "Saving lives during disasters". Op-ed, The Kathmandu Post, January 14, 2018.

Thapa, Deepak


Social Science Baha - Director


Deepak Thapa is the Director of the Social Science Baha, a Kathmandu-based research organisation, that specialises on issues such as migration, social inclusion, and social dimensions of infrastructure development, among others. He has written extensively on Nepal’s contemporary political developments. Among his publications are: as co-author, A Kingdom under Siege: Nepal’s Maoist Insurgency, 1996–2004 (2005) and Gender and Social Exclusion in Nepal: Update (2013), and, as editor, Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: The Nepal Peace Process, Accord Issue 26 (2017) and Understanding the Maoist Movement of Nepal (2003). He is also a columnist with The Kathmandu Post.

2015. "The country is yours". Op-ed, The Kathmandu Post, July 2, 2015.

2015. "Back to basics". Op-ed, The Kathmandu Post, September 24, 2015.

2015. "No man's land". Op-ed, The Kathmandu Post, December 3, 2015.

2016. "Knockin' on history's door". Op-ed, The Kathmandu Post, December 15, 2016.

2019. The Politics of Change: Reflections on Contemporary Nepal. Edited by Deepak Thapa. Kathmandu: Social Science Baha. Click here for citation details and free download in English, and in Nepali.

Turner, Ian

Graduate Student

University of Toronto - Masters Student - Department for the Study of Religion

I am an incoming graduate student at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr. Christoph Emmrich at the Department for the Study of Religion. I spent the summer of 2015 in the Kathmandu Valley, researching the responses of certain Buddhist Newar communities to the earthquakes of that spring. In particular, I was concerned with domestic dislocation and reconfiguration as these pertained to daily ritual observance. For my MA thesis I intend to carry forward this focus on domesticity and, with an eye to the themes of this project, I am especially interested in how mobility affects family groupings, domestic environments and ritual obligations.

2016 "A Study of Contemporary Newar Domesticity in Post-Earthquake Kathmandu". Click here to access the paper.

Warner, Cameron


Aarhus University - Faculty - Anthropology, Archaeology, and Linguistics


I am a cultural anthropologist and historian of religion who studies Tibet, Nepal, and the Himalayas. My previous work has focused on the history and practice of Buddhism, especially in relation to material culture, politics, gender, music, and migration. From 2015-2019, I am leading a new project, funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research, to study the value of artifacts and the practice of ethnographic collection, "Precious Relics: Materiality and Value in the Practice of Ethnographic Collection." As part of the SSHRC Nepal Reconstruction Partnership, I plan to study the impact of the 2015 Nepal Earthquake on paperless residents of Nepal.

2017. "On the Road from Hinduism to Buddhism: Global Buddhism, the Conversion of Nepali Hindus, and What Comes Between". Click here to access the paper.

2015. "The Photographed Gift: Participation, Relief Efforts, and Social Media" Cultural Anthropology Hot Spots Forum, In “Aftershocked: Reflections on the 2015 Earthquakes in Nepal”

2015. "Introduction: Aftershocked" Cultural Anthropology Hot Spots Forum, In “Aftershocked: Reflections on the 2015 Earthquakes in Nepal”