My doctoral research (DPhil Development Studies, 2014, University of Oxford) explored processes of social change and norm-remaking during the Maoist civil war in Nepal (1996-2006). Drawing on long-term fieldwork with people who were located at the epicentre of the conflict, including both ardent Maoist supporters and ‘reluctant rebels’, I explored how a remote Himalayan village was forged as the centre of the Maoist rebellion, how its inhabitants coped with the situation of war and the Maoist regime of governance, and how they maintained ordinary life amidst the war. The monograph based on this research, Maoist People’s War and the Revolution of Everyday Life in mid-Western Nepal, is currently in press.
As part of the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (2015-2018), ‘Where there are no men’: Migration, Kinship, Gender and Generation in Nepal’, I explored the gendered and generational nature of migration in Nepal, and the circulation of money in transnational family networks as a way to understand changes in kinship and relatedness. In the process of my fieldwork, I have become increasingly interested in the phenomenon of debt-driven migration, ‘waithood’ as a predicament soon-to-be migrants are subjected to, and the structural violence of migration in the conditions of neoliberalism.
I have recently started developing an interest in the anthropology of religion through my work on ‘reluctant shamans’ - young people who are intent on going abroad rather than being initiated into shamanism, and in the ways in which ‘traditional’ religious practices in Nepal, such as shamanism and spirit possession, intersect with and are often sidelined by a wave of new religious movements, ranging from modernist Hindu bhakti (devotional) movements to recently arrived Christian churches.