New Directions in Himalayan Studies


Himalayan Studies at UC Berkeley in partnership with the Centre d'Etudes Himalayennes (CEH) of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France, with funding support from the France Berkely Fund, are proud to host a two-day workshop at UC Berkeley that will bring together academics and graduate students from both institutions working on the Himalayan region in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The goal of this broadly configured workshop is to develop Himalayan Studies at UC Berkeley as well as explore specific forms of collaboration and lay the ground for developing research partnerships beyond.

March 1-3, 2019
370 Dwinelle Hall
UC Berkeley

Workshop Convenors:

  • Alexander von Rospatt, Professor, Buddhist and South Asian Studies; Director, Group in Buddhist Studies; and Director, Himalayan Studies Initiative Workshop 
  • Stéphane Gros, ISAS Visiting Scholar, 2017; Researcher, Centre d'Études Himalayennes, CNRS - Villejuif


Friday, March 1: 1:30 - 6:45 pm

1:30-2 pm


2-6:45 pm



SESSION 1: Chair and Discussant: David Gray (Santa Clara U)

  • 2-2:30: Fernand Meyer(CEH) : “Extracting Essences.” From Materia Medica to Meditative Visualizations in Tibetan Life-sustaining and Rejuvenation Techniques
  • 2:30-3: Zack Beer (UCB): The Parkhab Controversy: On the Origins and Authorship of a Tantric Commentary
  • 3-3:30: John "Zim" Pickens (UCB): The Rise of the Guru in Indian and Tibetan Foundational Practices
  • 3:30-4:15: Discussion

4:15-4:30 pm



SESSION 2: Chair and Discussant:  David Germano (UVA)

  • 4:30-5: Jake Dalton (UCB): Observations on An Early Rite of Āveśa from Dunhuang
  • 5-5:30 : Nicolas Sihlé (CEH): From Indic Gaṇacakra to Tibetan Tsok: the Diverse Logics of Commensality in a Key Ritual of Tantric Buddhism
  • 5:30-6: Donagh Coleman (UCB): Tibetan Buddhist Thugs Dam Deaths and the Dynamic of Presence and Absence
  • 6-6:45: Discussion

Saturday, March 2: 9-6 pm

9-12:15 pm



SESSION 1: Chair and Discussant: Isha Ray (UCB)

  • 9-9:30: Yoshika Crider (UCB): Safe Drinking Water for Community-Managed Systems in Rural Nepal
  • 9:30-10: Romain Valadaud (CEH): Patronage and Participation: Are Water User Associations of large-scale irrigation systems in the Taraï a tool for social change or social reproduction?
  • 10-10:30 Discussion

10:30-10:45 am



SESSION 2: Chair and Discussant: Isha Ray (UCB)

  • 10:45-11:15: Caroline Sarrazin (CEH): What Governance for Nepalese Lowland Water Bodies? Diversity of Representations, Conflicts and Practices in Water Management
  • 11:15-11:45: Olivia Aubriot  (CEH): How to “Read” an Irrigation System?
  • 11:45-12:15 Discussion

12:15-2 pm


2-6 pm



SESSION 1: Chair and Discussant: Elizabeth Allison (CIIS)

  • 2-2:30: Tracy Burnett (UCB): Seeing with Yaks: a Rebuttal of Western Land Management in the Tibetan Context
  • 2:30-3: Stéphane Gros (CEH): The Politics of Conversion: Changing Environments and Religious Landscapes in Northwest Yunnan (China)
  • 3-3:30: Joëlle Smadja (CEH): Territories to Protect a “Pristine Nature”: National Parks in the Himalayas, New Places of Power Where Multiple Legitimacies Compete
  • 3:30-4:15 Discussion

4:15-4:30 pm



SESSION 2: Chair and Discussant: Lawrence Cohen (UCB)

  • 4:30-5: Daniela Berti (CEH): Ruling on Nature: Rivers and Animals as Legal Persons in Uttarakhand
  • 5-5-30: Fabien Provost (CEH): Forensic Medicine in India: Reasoning on Bodies in Their Environment
  • 5:30-6: Discussion

Sunday, March 3: 9 - 1 pm

 9-1 pm



SESSION 1: Chair and Discussant: Nicolas Sihlé (CEH)

  • 9-9:30: Kris Anderson (UCB): Raising the Dead and Saving Them: Transformation and Adaptation in Hybrid Funerary Manuals of the Sarvadurgatipariśodhana tantra
  • 9:30-10: Ryan Damron (UCB): Pilgrimage, Piety, and Politics: The Life and Career of Vanaratna in Fifteenth-Century Nepal
  • 10-10-30 Discussion



10:45-1 pm

SESSION 2: Chair and Discussant: Patricia Berger (UCB)

  • 10:45-11:15: Alexander von Rospatt(UCB): Iconic Rituals and ritual Icons. The iconography, use and function of Uṣṇīṣavijayā icons in Nepalese old age rituals
  • 11:15-11:45: Kunsang Namgyal-Lama (CEH): Lakṣacaitya Paubhās: Pictorial Representations of a Newar Buddhist Ritual Performance
  • 11:45-12:15: Gérard Toffin (CEH): A Religious Drama in Nepal. Divine Masks and Ritual Dances of the Svetkālī Troupe (Nardevī Temple, Kathmandu)
  • 12:15-1: Discussion

Event made possible with the support of the France Berkeley Fund and the Sarah Kailath Chair of India Studies