Day 2: 24 July

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23-25 July, 2014, Hotel Shanker, Lazimpat
(organised by Social Science Baha, The Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies
& Britain-Nepal Academic Council)  

Day2: 24 July (Thursday)  
9 – 11 am
Panel 4A 
Durbar Hall  
Panel 4B 
One-Eyed Hall
Chair: Dipak Gyawali, Chairman, Interdisciplinary Analysts, Nepal
Chair: Rajendra Pradhan, Dean, Nepā School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Nepal
Ang Sanu Lama
Research Associate, Social Science Baha, Nepal
Secondary Level Organization and Exclusion in Community Forestry: A Case Study of Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal (FECOFUN)
Rekha Khatri
Senior Qualitative Research Officer I, Health Research and Social Development Forum (HERD), Nepal
Ian Harper
Senior Lecturer & Head of Anthropology, Social Anthropology, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, UK
The ‘Computer  Janch’ for TB: Rolling Out of Gene Xpert in Nepal
Austin Lord
Master of Environmental Science, Yale University, USA
Citizens of a Hydropower Nation: Territory and Agency at the Frontier of Hydropower Development in Nepal
Sudeepa Khanal
Senior Research Officer-Health System Development, Health Research and Social Development Forum (HERD), Nepal
HIV and Stigma
Discussant: Suresh Dhakal, Lecturer, Central Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
Discussant: Nabin Rawal, Lecturer, Central Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
BREAK: 11 – 11:30 am (Kailash Hall, Ground Floor)
11:30 am – 1 pm 
Panel 5 
Durbar Hall
Chair: Sudhindra Sharma, Executive Director, Interdisciplinary Analysts, Nepal
Sambriddhi Kharel
Senior Research Fellow, Nepā School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Nepal
Dalit Social Movement in Nepal: A Gendered Perspective
Anjam Singh
Junior Research Fellow, Nepā School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Nepal 
Analysis of Women’s Empowerment Discourse in Nepal
Discussant: Neeti Aryal Khanal, Lecturer, Central Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
LUNCH: 1 – 2:30 pm (Kailash Hall, Ground Floor)
2:30 – 4:30 pm   
Chair: Om Gurung, Chair, Central Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
Dambar Chemjong
PhD Candidate (Anthropology), Cornell University, USA
Politics of Naming and Identity in Nepal
Janak Rai
Lecturer, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
Rediscovering and Remaking of an Ancestral Place: Ritual, Place-Making and Indigenous Historical Agency in Nepal
Pauline Limbu
Graduate Student (Anthropology), Cornell University, USA 
Will it deliver? Women’s Rights through Land Rights
Discussant: Katsuo Nawa, Professor (Cultural Anthropology), Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo, Japan
TEA: 4:30 pm onwards (Kailash Hall, Ground Floor)


Panel: Indigeneity, Territoriality and the State in Nepal: New Perspectives, Emerging Practices 

Panel Abstract: In the last decade, indigenous peoples’ claims of territoriality and political autonomy have become one of the most contested political agendas in Nepal. Indigenous peoples’ movements for federalism based on ethnic identity, territory and history have heightened a distinct sense of “geographical imagination” (Harvey, 2005) among indigenous communities.  At the community level, people’s sense of place, their locally embedded practices of place-making such as rituals and place-names, and peoples’ understanding of their historical relationships with their territories have acquired new meanings and political significance. In this panel, we will draw on historical and ethnographic analysis to discuss the emerging practices of territoriality and indigeneity, particularly in the contexts of the post-April 2006 political transformations towards inclusive democracy and federal restructuring of the nation-state.  We bring ethnographic cases from the hill as well as the Tarai indigenous communities to discuss the interface between history, politics, place/territory/land, and people’s everyday practices in understanding the changing state-indigenous relations in the making of ‘New Nepal’.  Individual papers will address the politics of naming and identity, the mutuality of gender and land in indigenous activism, and the politics of place making practices in the Tarai.

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Paper 1: Politics of Naming and Identity in Nepal
Dambar Chemjong, PhD Candidate, Anthropology, Cornell University, USA 

Paper Abstract: Naming and the place names have entered the main political debates in the process of delineating new provinces for restructuring the state of Nepal. The debates surrounding the naming of new provinces are fused with identity politics, which have created further contestations and confusions over understanding of identity in juxtaposition to delineating the state into new provinces in Nepal.  In this paper I will contend that problems of names, specifically the ethnic and place names, bear political valance and are integral to the collective identity that the place names carry along the attributes of collective history and culturally binding relationships of indigenous peoples. I will substantiate my arguments with ethnographic data from the Limbus and their claims of collective identity which, as they claim, is integral to the Limbuwan. For this, the paper will interpret the etymology of the ethnonym Limbu to demonstrate that the ‘Limbu’ ethnonym has been the result of mutual recognition of Limbu political autonomy by the Limbus themselves and the outsiders including the Hindu State. This paper will also deal with the   consequence of the state’s  re/naming of the place names in the Limbuwan’s territory by which, I  would argue, the state creates new forms of cultural conflict and problems of disarticulation between social relations, rituals and the names themselves. This paper will also discuss the ongoing political debate over the name ‘Limbuwan’ (Limbu province) in which the Limbus claim that the name ‘Limbuwan’ is based on its historical, political and cultural identity while many others, mostly with the social backgrounds of high caste Hindus, argue that the provinces must be named on the basis of something ‘neutral’ names, such as river, mountain that suit to the economic development. Taking on the place names and naming, this paper will conclude that among the Limbus of eastern Nepal the most pressing political issue is of Limbuwan province, and claims for identity and nation is based on what makes one different from others, which begins with naming the provinces.

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Paper 2: Rediscovering and Remaking of an Ancestral Place: Ritual, Place-Making and Indigenous Historical Agency in Nepal
Janak Rai, Lecturer, Anthropology, Tribhuvan University, Nepal 

Paper Abstract: In this paper, I discuss how Dhimal, one adivasi community from Nepal’s easternmost lowland plains, the Tarai, use their village ritual to reclaim their historical relationships with their ancestral territories once they have forgotten and how ordinary individuals inscribe and write their ethnic histories into the newly rediscovered ancestral land by physically being at the place during the ritual. The paper is based on my ethnographic fieldwork with and among the Dhimal from 2007 and 2009 in different parts of Morang and Jhapa.

Until a few years ago, a village called ‘Raja Rani’ in Morang district did not carry any special sense of place for the current Dhimal indigenous activists. After the discovery by Dhimal activists in the late 90s that their ancestors used live the Raja Rani areas until the early 20th century, the place has now become a ‘sacred place’ where Dhimal ethnic histories and ancestral spirits dwell.  Now Dhimal inaugurate their most important village ritual, Shrijat Puja at Raja Rani by collectively traveling to the place on the Nepali New Year and performing the ritual for the wellbeing of all Dhimal.   They are promoting the Shrijat ritual as the rastriya puja (national puja), the collective jati puja of the adivasi Dhimal. Recently, the place Raja Rani has entered into Dhimals’ political demands for ‘Dhimal autonomous state’ in the federal restructuring of the nation-state in Nepal. Why has Raja Rani, where no Dhimal currently lives, acquired such a heightened sense of place for them?

I will analyze this particular ‘place making’ practice by locating it within the contexts of Dhimals’ historical experience of the Nepali state, their search for jati ithihas (ethnic history) and the contemporary indigenous articulation of ‘autonomy’ in Nepal.   Drawing on the theoretical perspectives on ‘place’ that combines phenomenological and political economic approaches to place-making and experiences of place, I will underline the collective creative agency of indigenous activists and ordinary ritual participants in transforming a once ‘forgotten’ place into a place of lived ancestral histories.  For instance, by showing how a seemingly simple statement such as “I was here in this place with my grandmother twenty years ago” can become part of a powerful history-making narrative in specific historical-political contexts, this paper will help us to understand how people actually produce and write histories in the land by physically being at and participating in the Shrejat ritual at Raja Rani.  In doing so, this paper will highlight how locally embedded place-making practices become inherent indigenous political projects in the making of ‘New Nepal.’

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Paper 3: Will it deliver? Women’s Rights through Land Rights
Pauline Limbu, Graduate student, Anthropology, Cornell University, USA 

Paper Abstract: I am interested in looking at the relationship that human beings have with nature, particularly material – land/territory/space – in relation to their idea of themselves and their social production and reproduction. In looking at this relationship, I will use historical and gendered lenses. In my paper I will explore the question of territory and space in its material form, and explore the meanings of land for different genders by focusing on the indigenous Limbu group of Nepal. I will situate the position of Limbu women, in terms of their relationship to land, alongside the forces of globalization, capitalism, resistance inside Nepal and the current indigenous rights movements. I will juxtapose ideas of pure forms of Limbu culture (i.e. before the Gorkha kingdom annexation of ‘Limbuwan’) with current cultural and political practices regarding the role of women and their relationship to land among the Limbus. I will particularly focus on the rhetoric of women, land and identity in the current Limbuwan movement – particularly a Limbu woman’s conception of her relation with land and identity. I will draw on my own fieldwork research, secondary data and other sources such as folklore myths, historical archives, and songs.

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Secondary Level Organization and Exclusion in Community Forestry: A Case Study of Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal (FECOFUN)
Ang Sanu Lama, Research Associate, Social Science Baha 

Abstract: Although community forestry (CF) in Nepal has been considered a successful program in terms of improving forest conditions, supporting forest-based livelihoods and enhancing local level community engagement, its exclusionary outcomes have been well documented. However, more focus has been given to the socio-cultural, economic and institutional factors at the community level as the causes of exclusion of women, Dalits, people living in poverty, and ethnic minorities. These marginalized groups are seen as being excluded from benefit sharing and decision making in CFUG as a result of community level elite capture and socio-economic attributes of marginalized groups themselves. Thus CF policy guidelines see Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) as the main actors in addressing exclusion. Although recent studies have looked at the impact of external actors, power relations, and macro-level institutions on exclusion, not much attention has been paid to how secondary level organization, i.e. organizations that represent local level community organizations, understand and address or do not address exclusion. Taking the Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal (FECOFUN) as a case study of such an organization, this study looks at how FECOFUN sees itself in relation to exclusion in CF. Through its elaborate organizational network at multiple levels FECOFUN has strengthened the community forestry movement in Nepal, challenged the forestry sector’s techno-bureaucratic hegemony, and democratized forest governance. This study provides an analysis of various perceptions of exclusion within FECOFUN, and how these perceptions shape FECOFUN’s role. Research methods used were primarily qualitative. Data was collected primarily through 26 semi-structured interviews and secondary data in the form of documents and reports from FECOFUN. Coding was done for concepts and themes most closely related to the research question and concerns as suggested in existing literature, along with identification of emerging concepts and themes from interview data wherever appropriate. Coded data was analyzed by sorting, comparing, and combining coded data units within and across the interview data to identify patterns and linkages. The study found that there were significant differences in the way local level officeholders interviewed and those at the district and national level of FECOFUN understood exclusion in CF. At the local level FECOFUN, there was more focus on equal distribution of forest products, equal involvement in CF activities, and proportional representation. They see inclusion as happening and not a problem. Officeholders in the later levels spoke of proportional representation, equitable benefit sharing and involvement of marginalized groups in decision making. They recognized elite control at the CFUG level as a cause of exclusion. Some of the reasons for this difference could be due to lack of resources and training in the lower levels of FECOFUN, and lack of adequate interaction between its various levels. The study further argues that because of the dominant understanding of exclusion in CF and because of FECOFUN’s dependence on powerful actors like donors and forestry sector for resources, it is unable to challenge the role these actors play in sustaining exclusion.

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Analysis of Women’s Empowerment Discourse in Nepal
Anjam Singh, Junior Research Fellow, Nepā School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Nepal 

Abstract: Women’s empowerment as a concept had its roots in the Third world feminist movement that advocated for collective action against gender subordination and unequal power relations. During late 1980s, the empowerment discourse which till then was in the margins of development and limited to feminists’ realm entered the mainstream development thinking and practice. In the recent times, it is increasingly being used in mainstream development discourse and practice as a poverty reduction and gender equality strategy. This “development” focused women’s empowerment discourse also gained ground in Nepal post-1990 and remains widely cemented in the development practice. However, there has been very little conceptual scrutiny about the term within the development sector and at the same time there is a growing concern about the effectiveness of such approaches in improving women’s lives. In addition, development projects on empowerment also are criticized for their top-down and expert design nature and that they rarely take into consideration the voices of the people they aim to “empower”. As the way issues are conceptualized have a key bearing in how they shape practice, critical review of usages of the concept by the development actors is necessary.

In this context, the research seeks to examine varying ways in which women’s empowerment has been understood a) by development organizations and translated into their policies/programs as well as b) by the women participants of these programs. Guided by the feminist empowerment literature, I aim to review policies of a few international organizations, such as the World Bank, DFID, USAID and CARE Nepal that have a specific focus on women’s empowerment.  Taking a case study of Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) and based on interviews with women of different castes/ethnicity and class in two hamlets in Dadeldhura, I will also explore perceptions of the women participants about their experiences, perceived changes through PAF particularly in terms of changes in gender relations, and what meanings empowerment holds for them. Through this study, I argue that although development projects on empowerment have linear and technocratic conceptualization of empowerment and they construct depoliticized subjects h empowerment in practice has complex and unpredictable effect, which largely depend upon people’s diverse social positionings, local gender relations and their agency.

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Dalit Social Movement in Nepal: A Gendered Perspective
Sambriddhi Kharel, Senior Research Fellow, Nepā School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Nepal 

Abstract: There are only a few studies of social movement from gender perspectives, probably because it is assumed that the movements take into consideration the interests of both men and women or that movements are gender neutral. However, social movements are often framed such that the specific interests and demands of women are ignored, sidelined or assumed to be the same as men’s. The few studies that use gendered perspectives have shown that women’s resistance calls attention to the theoretical issue of women’s interests and identities and around which they mobilize. Maxine Molyneux (1986), for example, identifies three types of ‘women’s interests’ that is common in feminist literature: (1) women’s interests (a highly contentious one because of women’s different positions in society, depending on class, ethnicity and sexual affiliation), (2) strategic gender interests, and (3) practical gender interests. Raka Ray and A.C.Kortweg (1999) argue that women are mobilized not only as women but also as mothers, workers, peasants, and citizens. These identities are not self-evident and do not emerge automatically from a structural position but rather are created in the process of struggle.  In examining gender roles in social movements, M. Bahati Kuumba (2001) shows how liberation struggles are viewed through women’s eyes and how gender affects women’s mobilization, strategies, and outcomes in social movement organizations. Using examples of the American Civil Rights movement and the South African National Liberation movement, Kuumba documents the circumscribed roles of women, the unheralded role of movement leaders such as Ella Baker and Frances Baard and how gender affected movement activities and results.

Through a historical analysis of the Dalit social movement and interviews with Dalit activists and ordinary Dalits, this paper examines the Dalit social movement in Nepal.  It attempts to explore what Dalits, both men and women and activists as well as ordinary Dalits (who may not be directly involved in the movement) understand by the Dalit Social movement. More specifically, this paper applies a gendered mode of analysis that entails taking the process, stratification, and structure of gender into account when viewing social phenomena. It acknowledges that institutionalized gender relations and inequalities impact the social experience in both constraining and catalytic ways.  A gendered mode of analysis assesses how systems of caste stratification, regional and class inequality interact with gender differences in social movement processes.

This paper provides a gendered perspective on the Dalit social movement. Do men and women experience participation in the Dalit social movement differently?  Has the Dalit movement adequately represented Dalit women’s issues and acknowledged the contributions of Dalit women? The paper examines the key contributions of Nepali Dalit Women in the larger Dalit movement and in the Women’s movement. It highlights the gendered critique provided by the Feminist Dalit movement in Nepal. It will argue that the Dalit social movement does not take into adequate consideration the specific interests and demands of Dalit women, who struggle against casteism, exclusion and patriarchy.

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Citizens of a Hydropower Nation: Territory and Agency at the Frontier of Hydropower Development in Nepal
Austin Lord, Master of Environmental Science, Yale University, USA 

Abstract: This paper blends a theoretical framework for understanding social and spatial change in areas affected by hydropower development in Nepal with ethnographic accounts of diverse ‘lived experiences’ of hydropower development in the watersheds of the Trishuli and Tamakoshi rivers. Discussing hydropower development in terms of the turbulences and negotiations that mark its fluid boundaries this paper poses a series of open questions about shifting patterns of work, mobility, access, and aspiration which are emerging in ‘developing’ watersheds. This analysis focuses on the different ways in which livelihoods and socialities are implicated within the processes, practices, and logics of hydropower development – within complex flows of labor, capital, imagination and power that support the transformative projects of Nepal’s evolving ‘hydroscapes’ (from Swyngedouw 1999). As hydropower development intensifies and proliferates in Nepal it reaches across a wide variety of physical and human geographies, generating a frontier of interventions and ‘scale making projects’ (Tsing 2000) which produce a fractal pattern of turbulence. This paper attempts to describe ‘how hydropower is happening’ in the current moment, by focusing ethnographic attention on the ways in which this turbulent interface catalyzes, accelerates, attenuates, and elaborates processes of social and spatial change.

Drawing from three months of intensive fieldwork and interviews with people living and working in ‘project affected areas’ this paper works to disaggregate abstract definitions of ‘affectedness’ and ‘locality’ by describing plurality, unevenness, and uncertainty within the production of the hydro-future. My approach understands turbulence as a fluid kind of productive tension, which generates adaptations, new agencies, and unexpected opportunities for different projects of future-making (Tsing 2005, Ferguson 2011). This paper argues that ethnographies of turbulence can increase the visibility of certain patterns occurring at the periphery, pulling the eye and the conversation away from the centers of knowledge production in ways that pluralize the current discourse about the social and environmental effects of hydropower in Nepal. With an eye toward changing mobilities, this paper seeks to represent alternative narratives of hydropower development that foreground the ways people organize meaning within Nepal’s effort to become a ‘hydropower nation’ – to describe what is changing and for whom, who and what comes and goes, who benefits and who does not, how and why.

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The ‘Computer  Janch’ for TB: Rolling Out of Gene Xpert in Nepal
Rekha Khatri, Senior Qualitative Research Officer I Health Research and Social Development Forum (HERD), Kathmandu and Ian Harper, Senior Lecturer & Head of Anthropology, Social Anthropology, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, UK 

Abstract: The national average for case finding of Tuberculosis in Nepal has remained between 70-76% for more than a decade now. Nepal Tuberculosis Programme (NTP) has an objective to reach the case finding rate of 82% by 2015 nationally. Accordingly, a new technology in detecting tuberculosis has been introduced in Nepal from 2011 under the TB Reach Programme supported by Canadian International Development Agency to increase early case detection of tuberculosis.  So far, sputum microscopy has been used as the basic test to diagnose TB in people based on physician’s recommendation. The new technology, called GeneXpert, endorsed by WHO in 2010,  is considered powerful as it is considered to detect the tuberculosis bacteria even in the samples that are not diagnosed as positive from the sputum microscopy.  It also determines whether the TB bacterium in the patient is Rifampicin resistant or sensitive, i.e. the test result determines the condition of the TB patient in advance so that they can be put on medication regime accordingly.

Currently, there are 22 GeneXpert machines in Nepal introduced and implemented by the International Organization for Migration, Health Research and Social Development Forum (HERD) and National Tuberculosis Centre (NTC). Introduction and implementation of a particular technology extends beyond the technical milieu of curbing disease, rather is situated in complex socio-economic and political environment and culture of a particular programme and therefore generating questions, like in this case: What does this technology mean in the field of TB diagnostics? How do different actors and stakeholders in the TB control programme come together for the planning and execution of the new technology? How do health workers’ perceive this technology and whether it impacts the relationship between them? What challenges does the introduction of new technology pose to the implementing organization and the National TB programme?

Based on ethnographic observations of the TB labs and interactions with the lab workers and district focal persons of TB [as a part of an ongoing research] in various parts of the country, we aim to chart the process of rolling out of the GeneXpert technology in Nepal along with the intricacies of co-ordination with different actors at multiple levels. The paper while attempting to understand the social life of the GeneXpert technology in Nepal, will highlight the issues and challenges around introducing the new technology, perception of the lab workers and its impact on the relationship among the health workers and also on the National Tuberculosis Programme.

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HIV and Stigma
Sudeepa Khanal, Senior Research Officer-Health System Development, Health Research and Social Development Forum (HERD), Kathmandu 

Abstract: HIV is often accompanied by unfavorable attitudes and behaviors of people around in the society. This paper tries to describe the different forms of stigma and discrimination that is prevalent not only in the community, but also in the health facilities in Nepal, resulting in various complexities in the lives of the infected/ affected people. This paper also illustrates some experiences of stigma and discrimination faced by HIV infected/affected people in their societies reinforcing the findings from previous studies, which suggest that despite the strong focus on reducing stigma related to HIV, efforts remain inadequate.

This paper bases its findings on data acquired from an ongoing qualitative study, where peer ethnographic interviews are conducted by peers from the HIV network. These peer interviews help in gaining a better understanding of the types of stigma experienced by the HIV infected and affected people. The data used for this study was acquired from the interviews conducted in different parts of Kathmandu valley, Surkhet, Nepalgunj, Biratnagar and Sunsari districts.

The data from the interviews shows that the existence of stigma was observed and reported widely at different levels in the society namely individual, family, community, and health facility. Majority of the participants were found not to have disclosed their HIV status due to the fear of discrimination and those who had disclosed their status, expressed various distressing situations that they had to face in their family as well as community. Also, different experiences of stigma were found amongst the infected/affected people as per their gender. In addition to these, there were also significant differences between the attitudes of health workers towards the HIV infected/affected people as compared to other patients, which had affected their access into and quality of health care services.

For more than a decade, the government along with various organizations working in the HIV sector have been raising awareness in the community to reduce stigma towards the HIV infected, however, this study signifies that along with perking up of the community awareness activities, there is a need for the organizations to target their education programs to health workers as well. Findings from the study are indicative that where importance of educating the health workers is unquestionable to reduce the fueling of stigma attached to HIV, fostering the relationship between the healthcare providers and patients is also vital. Lack of adequate supportive environment in the health centres is identified as one of the causes of stigma and thus an important issue to be addressed in order to reduce the complications of stigma related to HIV.

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