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 Berkeley Fund, are proud to host a two workshops 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 these broadly configured workshops 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. 

The first workshop held on March 1-3, 2019 in 370 Dwinelle Hall at UC Berkeley, was divided in four broad panels:

  • Religious Practices Across Tibet
  • Water Management and Use
  • Changing Natures
  • Newar Society, Religion and Art.


  • 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

The second workshop will be held on September 26, 2019 in 370 Dwinelle Hall at UC Berkeley, will focus on the topic of migration.  


  • Kris Anderson (UCB): Raising the Dead and Saving Them: Transformation and Adaptation in Hybrid Funerary Manuals of the Sarvadurgatipariśodhana tantra
  • Olivia Aubriot  (CEH): How to “Read” an Irrigation System?
  • Zack Beer (UCB): The Parkhab Controversy: On the Origins and Authorship of a Tantric Commentary
  • Daniela Berti (CEH): Ruling on Nature: Rivers and Animals as Legal Persons in Uttarakhand
  • Tracy Burnett (UCB): Seeing with Yaks: a Rebuttal of Western Land Management in the Tibetan Context
  • Donagh Coleman (UCB): Tibetan Buddhist Thugs Dam Deaths and the Dynamic of Presence and Absence
  • Yoshika Crider (UCB): Safe Drinking Water for Community-Managed Systems in Rural Nepal
  • Jake Dalton (UCB): Observations on An Early Rite of Āveśa from Dunhuang
  • Ryan Damron (UCB): Pilgrimage, Piety, and Politics: The Life and Career of Vanaratna in Fifteenth-Century Nepal
  • Stéphane Gros (CEH): The Politics of Conversion: Changing Environments and Religious Landscapes in Northwest Yunnan (China)
  • Fernand Meyer(CEH) : “Extracting Essences.” From Materia Medica to Meditative Visualizations in Tibetan Life-sustaining and Rejuvenation Techniques
  • Kunsang Namgyal-Lama (CEH): Lakṣacaitya Paubhās: Pictorial Representations of a Newar Buddhist Ritual Performance
  • John "Zim" Pickens (UCB): The Rise of the Guru in Indian and Tibetan Foundational Practices
  • Fabien Provost (CEH): Forensic Medicine in India: Reasoning on Bodies in Their Environment
  • Alexander von Rospatt(UCB): Iconic Rituals and ritual Icons. The iconography, use and function of Uṣṇīṣavijayā icons in Nepalese old age rituals
  • Caroline Sarrazin (CEH): What Governance for Nepalese Lowland Water Bodies? Diversity of Representations, Conflicts and Practices in Water Management
  • Nicolas Sihlé (CEH): From Indic Gaṇacakra to Tibetan Tsok: the Diverse Logics of Commensality in a Key Ritual of Tantric Buddhism
  • Joëlle Smadja (CEH): Territories to Protect a “Pristine Nature”: National Parks in the Himalayas, New Places of Power Where Multiple Legitimacies Compete
  • Gérard Toffin (CEH): A Religious Drama in Nepal. Divine Masks and Ritual Dances of the Svetkālī Troupe (Nardevī Temple, Kathmandu)
  • 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?

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

Himalayan mountains