LINGUIST List 26.1970

Mon Apr 13 2015

Confs: Assamese, Hindi, Limbu, Naga Pidgin, Nepali, Tibetan, Anthropological Ling, Lang Documentation, Socioling/USA

Editor for this issue: Erin Arnold <>

Date: 11-Apr-2015
From: Walter Hakala <>
Subject: Articulating Ethnicity: Language and the Boundaries of the Himalayas
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Articulating Ethnicity: Language and the Boundaries of the Himalayas

Date: 18-Apr-2015 - 18-Apr-2015
Location: Buffalo, NY, USA
Contact: Walter Hakala
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics; Language Documentation; Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): Assamese; Hindi; Limbu; Naga Pidgin; Nepali; Tibetan

Meeting Description:

Situated at the peripheries of the world’s two most populous nation-states - India and China - the Himalayan region represents an exceptional site for the study of the intersection of language, ethnic and national politics. As the Himalayas are home to both contested ethno-nationalisms and disputed and shifting borders, language often finds itself not only at the forefront of the region’s cultural politics, but also its geopolitics. Fredrik Barth’s Ethnic Groups and Boundaries (1969) signified a major shift in the approach to the study of ethnic groups. Barth argued that, if we focus on boundaries, we can see that the forms ethnicity takes are relational - it is the boundary, in fact, which makes salient the cultural content of ethnic groups. This conference engages with and utilizes Barth’s early insights to investigate the role of language in boundary maintenance among Himalayan peoples. We seek to emphasize ethnicity, culture, and nationalism as products of this on-going boundary maintenance. Thus, in this conference, we ask: What roles do languages play in the production of Himalayan ethnicities and nationalisms?

This workshop-style conference is not only for those who are interested in the Himalayan or South Asian regions, but those who have a theoretical interest in language politics, the role of languages in the making of ethnic groups and national polities, and the study of borders and boundaries.


To view paper abstracts, visit

Saturday, April 18, 2015

8:30-9:00 Coffee and Light Breakfast

Panel 1: Language
Chair: Elizabeth Mazzolini (Virginia Tech)

Mark Turin (Associate Professor, Anthropology, Chair, First Nations Languages Program, University of British Columbia): “Situating Language, Recognising Multilingualism: Linguistic Identities and Mother Tongue Attachments in the Himalayas”

Heather Hindman (Associate Professor, Asian Studies, The University of Texas at Austin): “From Monolingual to Multilingual, Twice Over: The Rise of English Alternatives in Cosmopolitan Nepal”

Ingrid Hakala (PhD in Education, University of Virginia): “Practicing Ethnic Identity through Mother Tongue Educational Programming: The Case of Anipaan in Eastern Nepal”

11:00-11:15 Coffee Break

Panel 2: Abroad
Chair: Vasiliki Neofotistos (University at Buffalo)

Susan Hangen (Professor, Anthropology and International Studies, Ramapo College): “The Blurry Boundaries of “Nepaliness” in New York”

Joseph Stadler (PhD Candidate in Anthropology, University at Buffalo): “Producing the ‘Omkar Family’: Nepali-Bhutanese Refugees’ Dynamic Ethnicities”

12:45-2:00 Lunch

Panel 3: Land
Chair: TBA (University at Buffalo)

Sara Shneiderman (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and the Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia (UBC)): “Administrative and Affective Boundaries: The Properties of Territory in Nepal’s State of Transformation”

Andrew Nelson (Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of North Texas): “Ethnicity and Land in a Time of Urbanization: The Newar Jyāpu of Kirtipur and the Case of Plot #7”

Dambar Chemjong (PhD Candidate in Anthropology, Cornell University): “Politics of Difference and Claiming of Territorial Boundaries: A Case Study of the Limbuwan's Identity Politics in the Eastern Himalaya,”

Page Updated: 13-Apr-2015