Dr Bal Gopal Shrestha

bal gopal shrestha


Research Affiliate

Dr Shrestha is a Research Affiliate at the University of Oxford, UK. Between 2009 and 2012, he worked at the University of Oxford together with Professor David Gellner and Dr Sondra Hausner on the project Vernacular Religion: Varieties of religiosity in the Nepalese diaspora in the UK and Belgium'. He co-authors many articles with David Gellner, and Dr Sondra Hausner. He obtained a PhD in anthropology from the University of Leiden (2002). As an Assistant Professor, he taught Government and Politics of South and Southeast Asia at the University of Leiden. He also contributes to the project “Documents on the History of Religion and Law of pre-modern Nepal’’ University of Heidelberg, Germany. He has conducted fieldwork in Nepal, India, the UK and Belgium.

Shrestha has published widely on Nepalese religious rituals, Hinduism, Buddhism, ethnic nationalism, the Maoist movement, political development in Nepal and on Nepalese diaspora. He is the author of the monographs: The Sacred Town of Sankhu: The Anthropology of Newar Rituals, Religion and Society in Nepal (Cambridge Scholar Publishing 2012, paperback 2013) and The Newars of Sikkim: Reinventing Language, Culture and Identity in the Diaspora (Vajra Books 2015).

He has been Research fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden, (2015-2018). He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Centro Incontri Umani, Ascona, Switzerland (2004–06). The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, awarded Dr Shrestha the Jan Gonda Fellowship (2001-2). He was a PhD Candidate (aio) at the Research School CNWS, Leiden University (1996-2002). The University of Cambridge, UK, awarded him a Frederick Williamson Memorial Fund (2003). He did his Master's in Political Science at Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He has Assistant Professor at the Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS) TU, Kathmandu, Nepal (1993–2009). He collaborated with the late Bert van den Hoek, a Dutch anthropologist at Leiden University, in carrying out anthropological fieldwork in the Kathmandu Valley, and jointly published several articles.

The Jan Gonda Foundation awarded him grants to make documentary films on the rituals performed at the Agnimatha, the Vedic Fire Temple in Patan, Nepal, supervised by Prof. Dr. Jan E. M. Houben. Dr Shrestha made the award-winning ethnographic documentary film Sacrifice of Serpents: The Festival of Indrayani, Kathmandu 1992/94 (Leiden, 1997) together with the late Van den Hoek and Dirk J. Nijland.

Research and Teaching expertise

Land, People, Religion and Rituals of South and Southeast Asia
Government and Politics of South Asia and Southeast Asia
Diaspora and Migration Communities
Peoples and Cultures of South Asia
Hinduism and Buddhism in South Asia
Castes and Society in South Asia
Nations, Nationalism, Race and Ethnicity in South Asia
Research Method in Social and Cultural Anthropology
Introduction to Ethnography and Fieldwork