Dr Bal Gopal Shrestha a research associate at the ISCA, is currently engaged in carrying out research among the Nepalese diaspora in the UK and in Belgium. 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'. Having conducted fieldwork in Nepal, India, the UK and Belgium, he has published widely on Nepalese religious rituals, Hinduism, Buddhism, ethnic nationalism, the Maoist movement, political development in Nepal, and on the 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).
Dr Shrestha holds a PhD in anthropology from Leiden University, the Netherlands, and was a researcher and assistant professor and taught Politics of South and Southeast Asia at the faculty of Social Sciences, Leiden University (2006-07). he has been a visiting fellow at the Institute of History, Leiden University (2007-08) and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Centro Incontri Umani, Ascona, Switzerland (2004-06). The University of Cambridge, UK, awarded him a Frederick Williamson Memorial Fund (2003). The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, awarded Dr Shrestha the Jan Gonda Fellowship at the International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden (2001-02). He was a lecturer of political science at the Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS), Kathmandu, Nepal. 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.
An affiliated fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden, the Netherlands, Dr Shrestha made the award-winning ethnographic documentary Sacrifice of Serpents: The Festival of Indrayani, Kathmandu 1992/94 (Leiden, 1997) together with the late Van den Hoek and Dirk J. Nijland. The Jan Gonda Foundation awarded him grants to make documentary films on the rituals performed at the Agnimatha, the Vedic Fire Temple.
Research interests and teaching expertise
Diaspora and Migration Communities
Land, People, Religion and Rituals of South and Southeast Asia
Government and Politics of South Asia and Southeast Asia
Socio-Religious Anthropology of South Asia
Hinduism and Buddhism
Castes and Society in South Asia
Nations, Nationalism, Race and Ethnicity in South Asia
Bal Gopal Shrestha publications