Book Review: ‘Ethnicity and Democracy in the Eastern Himalayan Borderland’

In the book Ethnicity and Democracy, Mona Chettri offers a rich ethnography originating from fieldwork conducted in three EH borderland areas: Darjeeling (India), Sikkim (India), and Ilam in East Nepal. These three areas were traditionally seen as continuous cultural landscapes bounded by fluid and porous borders, defining trade, livelihood, and everyday life in the region. Chettri’s book is one of the first few works to identify the continuous yet discrete nature of Darjeeling, Sikkim, and East Nepal. Invoking the EH as a conceptual, geographical, and political space, Chettri offers a new framework within which questions of ethnic revivalism, ethnic politics, representation, political and economic vagaries, and political rights across these regions can be analysed. 

Ep # 90: The First Year Special: This Month on TFS. 

The Familiar Strange · Ep # 90: The First Year Special: This Month on TFS Welcome back to the Familiar Strange.  We’re back with a special panel episode with familiar stranger Alex sitting down with some of the First year PhD students doing Anthropology at ANU. Mamta, Maddy and Andy were kind enough to take … Continue reading Ep # 90: The First Year Special: This Month on TFS. 

A Trinket, a Trifle, and a Novel New Disciple: Fandoms and Consecrated Commodities

Religious commodification is an arena that has gained increasing interest among social scientists, especially where religious symbols and artefacts are being appropriated by both adherents and non-adherents in an attempt to capitalize on growing worldwide markets. In what Sophia Rose Arjana calls the “mystical marketplace,” these objects, many of which are distinctly associated with orientalist versions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, are stripped of their original contexts and then reimagined as representatives of a kind of timeless, exotic, spirituality to be consumed by economically dominant Westerners. But this short thought-piece is about those consecrated objects whose marketing and sale is what made them sacred in the first place (like the Tibetan Singing Bowls but drawn from Harry Potter and Star Wars rather than the Tripitaka and the Mahayana Sutras). This is about a growing link between religion and fandom and the “ritual objects” that the latter now produces.

Ep # 89 Growing Pains in the Valley: Dr  Eric Hirsch on Growth in the Colca Valley 

The Familiar Strange · Ep # 89 Growing Pains in the Valley: Dr Eric Hirsch on Growth in the Colca Valley Welcome back to the Familiar Strange!  This week Familiar Stranger Alex sits down with Dr Eric Hirsch. Dr Eric Hirch is currently an assistant professor at Franklin & Marshall College in the department of … Continue reading Ep # 89 Growing Pains in the Valley: Dr  Eric Hirsch on Growth in the Colca Valley