Land and Politics in Nepal: Anthropological Investigations
The divide between nature and culture is demolished in anthropology. Rather than continue to view nature as a backdrop or resource for human meaning making, scholars today move to consider the complicated ways nature is imbricated in the creation of systems of value and the formation of social experience. Inherently, the selection of value and meaning from environmental entanglements entails a political choice. This panel brings together four current anthropology graduate students whose research focuses on questions of the relationship between land and the state in Nepal. Through an array of ethnographic, historical, and discursive methods, the panelists demonstrate the ways the concept of land can be used analytically to approach topics of national interest, including citizenship, land reform, state infrastructure, and federalism. Various anthropological subfields inform the panelists’ diverse interests, and the panel serves as a review of the recent theoretical contributions of political anthropology, the anthropology of space and place, the anthropology of development, environmental anthropology, new materialism, and the anthropology of planning, as well as their applications to the study of contemporary Nepal. With this panel, the panelists aspire to invigorate lively scholarship on facets of human-environment relationships, and their political resonances.