Deadline for submission: October 1, 2013
The Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies announces the invitation for the best graduate student paper for
Dor Bahadur Bista Prize
The Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies (ANHS) annually awards the Dor Bahadur Bista Prize for best graduate student paper submitted to this ANHS competition. The prize honors the life, career, and service of Dor Bahadur Bista, Nepal’s first anthropologist and former Honorary President of the ANHS predecessor organization, the Nepal Studies Association (NSA). The purpose of the Prize is to recognize outstanding scholarship by students whose research focuses on the areas of High Asia (Hindu Kush – Karakoram – Himalaya – Tibetan Plateau) that comprise the principal interests of ANHS.
Submissions from all academic disciplines in the social sciences, humanities, and arts will be accepted. All submissions must not have been previously published. Multiple author papers are acceptable, provided that the graduate student applicant is the first author.
Eligibility is restricted to graduate students in good standing who do not hold the degree of PhD as of the submission deadline. Undergraduates, even those who have written honors theses, are not eligible to apply.
Requirements for Submission
To enter the competition, each student author must submit the following ELECTRONICALLY:
A one-paragraph (200-300 word) abstract of the paper
A curriculum vitae
The complete paper, not to exceed 8,000 words, sent in .doc or .docx format, with the word count clearly labeled
A transcript from your graduate institution, indicating graduate status or a letter of support from your graduate advisor, indicating your standing as a graduate student
Deadline for Submission: October 1, 2013
Selection of Award: All submissions will be reviewed by an ANHS subcommittee made up of a current Executive Council member and two independent scholars, and the winner will be voted on by the Selection Committee.
Date of Award: At the annual general ANHS membership meeting (held this year at the South Asia Conference in Madison, WI).
Award: The author of the paper selected for the award will receive recognition at the annual South Asian Studies Conference, receive a cash award of $250, and be invited to submit their paper to Himalaya. A list of past winners and their paper titles are listed on the ANHS website.
Submit Entries ELECTRONICALLY To:
Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz, PhD.
Dor Bahadur Bista Prize
2013 Dor Bahadur Bista Prize Winner
The competition this year received an unprecedented number of papers, the quality of which was remarkably high. Of the nine papers submitted, four were from the US, three from the UK, and one each from Canada and Australia. The papers covered an array of disciplines, including Anthropology (2), Geography, Social and Cultural Psychology, Linguistics, Second Language Studies, Public Policy, Cultural and Spatial Ecology, and International Development.
Pauline Limbu, PhD candidate in the Dept of Anthropology at Cornell University, has been awarded the 2013 Dor Bista Bahadur Prize for her paper entitled"From Kipat to Autonomy: Land and Territory in Today's Limbuwan Movement."
Pauline Limbu's Abstract: This paper is written in the context of current post-conflict transitional period in Nepal where expectations of justice and equality for historically marginalized communities are based, partly, on future state restructuring of the country. One of the major challenges around state restructuring in Nepal is to address the aspirations of movements demanding autonomy through identity-based federal states. This paper explores the Limbuwan movement, a political movement for greater autonomy in Eastern Nepal among an ethnic group who live in the East called Limbus. This paper uses the Limbuwan and Limbu example to shed light on how claims about proposed federal states are situated in a shared understanding of history linked to land and territory. I do this by examining how territorial history shaped the current Limbuwan movement and how those in the movement, in turn, use this history to legitimize their claims to attain their political goal of a federal autonomous state. I particularly focus on kipat lands which were ostensibly a historical form of communal land management but also, this paper argues, symbolic of much more for Limbus. I examine firstly the Limbus' historical relation with their kipat lands and ancestral territory, and how the contemporary Limbuwan movement's territorial claims are based on particular readings of this history. I secondly argue that kipat has provided an aspect of Limbu identity and belonging to their territory and, further, kipat has transformed or expanded beyond a system of land tenure and management to a developed notion of territoriality and autonomy for Limbus. This paper draws on written sources, interviews, ethnographic field work in Eastern Nepal as well as theoretical studies on land, territory, autonomy and identity.
2012 Dor Bahadur Bista Prize Winner
Deadline for submission: September 15, 2012.
Mr. Christopher Butler’s paper titled “Since the Fighting Stopped: Changing Attitudes about Development in Rural Nepal” won the 2012 Dor Bahadur Prize. This work addresses the issue of bikas in Rukum District. It analyzes field-based data and dovetails empirical findings with deeply researched social and cultural factors. Mr. Butler has made a compelling theoretical contribution regarding a much discussed and debated topic in scholarship about Nepal – namely, bikas and what it signifies, why, how, and to whom. This paper contributed to our understanding of the transformations in social and political agency in post-Maoist Nepal.
2011 Dor Bahadur Bista Prize Winner
Sarah Besky, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Paper Title: Moral Economies of Land, Labor, and Justice on Darjeeling Tea Plantations
This article explores how tea plantation laborers in Darjeeling, India understood their
place in the circulation of an environmental commodity - fair trade and organic Darjeeling tea -
and confronted the alienation of land, labor, and product. Moving beyond economically rooted
theories of empowerment, I explore how, in an era in which environmental commodities are
increasingly seen as material vehicles for social change, the universal concept of justice is made
"practically effective" when people engage it in particular, place-based histories of cultural and
economic encounter (Tsing 2005:8). I draw upon environmental history, linguistic and kinship
analysis, and gendered narratives of identity to understand how workers in Darjeeling localized
the universal concept of "justice" to comment on the conditions of life and tea production.
Workers used "justice" to position themselves in postcolonial national and regional politics as
well as a global environmental commodity chain. "Justice" grappled with tea's place among
Darjeeling's "imperial ruins" (Stoler 2008), in which Nepali workers saw the remnants of a
stable moral economy and productive tea industry. Workers believed that they could revitalize
these ruins, not with organic certification schemes or fair trade premiums, but through the
formation of a separate Indian state of Gorkhaland.
2010 Dor Bahadur Bista Prize Winner
Tejendra Pherali, Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom
Paper Title: Leadership in Peril: Managing School and Self during Nepal’s ‘People’s War’