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International Advisory Board

The international advisory board has been constituted to assist in the maintenance of high standards in academics at the Nepā School of Social Sciences and Humanities. The board members will review the curricula and give recommendations on the structure of the courses.

The board consists of eminent social scientists from around the world who have academic and research links with Nepal.

The current advisory board comprises:

    • David Gellner (Chair), University of Oxford, Oxford
    • David Holmberg, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
    • Michael Hutt, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London
    • Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany
    • Gérard Toffin, National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Paris
    • Kathryn S March, Cornell University, Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, Ithaca, New York

      David Gellner (Chair)

      David Gellner is Professor of Social Anthropology and a Fellow of All Souls. He was Head of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford from 2009-2012. His research interests include the anthropology of South Asia, Buddhism, Hinduism, traditional urbanism, healers and their relation to religion, ritual and symbolism, politics, and ethnicity and activism. He was involved in the EU Asialink project 'The (Micro-)politics of Democratisation: European-South Asian Exchanges on Governance, Conflict and Civic Action' (see

      Among his recent publications are (with Sarah LeVine) Rebuilding Buddhism: The Theravada Movement in Twentieth-Century Nepal (Harvard 2005), (ed.) Resistance and the State: Nepalese Experiences (Delhi 2003; Oxford 2006), and (ed.) Ethnic Activism and Civil Society in South Asia (Delhi 2009).

      David Holmberg

      David Holmberg is Professor and former Chair of the Department of Anthropology, Cornell University. His major publications include (with Kathryn S. March, Surya Man Tamang and Bhim Bahadur Tamang) Mutual Regards: America and Nepal Seen through Each Other's Eyes (Kathmandu 1995) and Order in Paradox: Myth, Ritual, and Exchange among Nepal's Tamang (Ithaca 1989).

      Michael Hutt

      Michael Hutt is Professor of Nepali and Himalayan Studies at SOAS. He was Head of the South Asia Department from 1995-9, and has served as both Associate Dean (2002-4) and Dean (2004-10) of the Faculty of Languages and Cultures. His publications include (with Lil Bahadur Chettri) Mountains Painted with Turmeric (New York 2008), Unbecoming Citizens: Culture, Nationhood, and the Flight of Refugees from Bhutan (Oxford 2003), Voices from Asia (Berkeley and Los Angeles 1991), and the edited books Himalayan ‘People’s War’: Nepal’s Maoist Rebellion (London 2004), Bhutan: Perspectives on Conflict and Dissent (Gartmore 1994) and Nepal in the Nineties: Versions of the Past, Visions of the Future (New Delhi 1994).

      Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka

      Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka is Professor of Social Anthropology at the Faculty of Sociology at Bielefeld University, Germany. She acted as Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the same university from 2007 to 2009. Her PhD thesis focused on the ‘Power and Ritual Unity: The Hindu caste System and Ethnic Relations in the Process of State-formation in Nepal.’ Her current research interests include political anthropology, ethnicity, integration and minority research, democratization processes in sub-national contexts, legal anthropology (in particular, human and minority rights), cultural change and inter-cultural communication, and social anthropological perspectives on processes of globalization.

      Her recent publications include the articles ‘No end to Nepal’s Maoist rebellion’, Focaal, European Journal of Anthropology, 2005, and Democratisation and Nation-building in Divided Societies’ in Jochen Hippler (ed.) Nation-Building: A Key Concept for Peaceful Conflict Transformation? (London and Ann Arbor 2005). Her published books and edited volumes include (ed. with A. Nandy, D. Rajasingham and T. Gomez) Ethnic Futures. State and Identity in Four Asian Countries (New Delhi 1999) and (ed. with D. Gellner and J. Whelpton) Nationalism and Ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom: The Politics of Culture in Contemporary Nepal (Amsterdam 1997).

      Gérard Toffin

      Gérard Toffin is Emeritus Senior Researcher at the CNRS (DRCE). He has lectured at Harvard, Oxford and SOAS, among other institutions. In 2000 he delivered the Radhakrishnan Memorial Lecture at All Souls College, Oxford University. Prof. Toffin has written a dozen books and numerous articles, mostly in French, and also edited important anthropological journals and books. His publications have focussed on material culture, kinship, politics, economy, religion, and the writing of social anthropology.

      His important works include Pyangaon, une Communauté Newar de la Vallée de Katmandou (Paris 1977), Societé et Religion chez les Newars de la Vallée de Katmandou (Paris 1984), Le Palais et le Temple: La Fonction Royale dans l'ancienne Vallée du Népal (Paris 1993), La quête de l'Autre: L'ethnologie d'Hier à Aujourd'hui (Solar 2005), Newar Society: City, Village and Periphery (Kathmandu 2007) and the edited volume Nepal: Past and Present (Delhi 1993). His research currently focuses on the anthropology of performance and theatre, the construction of democracy in Nepal, and a Krishnaite sect found both in Nepal and India (particularly Gujarat and North Bengal).

      Kathryn S March

      Kathryn S. March is a professor in the departments of Anthropology and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She has worked on questions of anthropology, gender, and social change in Himalayan Asia since 1973. Her present interests in the political and economic pressures on local ethnic communities have evolved directly from earlier commitments to understanding how society and culture interact through time, and how individual's lives are framed within these contexts, with particular reference to gender, women's lives, and social justice. She has done research across much of north-central Nepal, among Sherpa and, especially, Tamang communities there. Professor March founded and continues to supervise the Cornell-Nepal Study Program, a joint research and training initiative with the national Tribhuvan University; she has led CIPA's involvement with this program. Her writings include a book on gender and development, a multi-authored bilingual cross-cultural diary, and a new book on women's life histories and song compositions. In 2004, she was the recipient of Cornell's Stephen and Margery Russell Distinguished Teaching Award. She also received a Fulbright Senior Lecturing Research Award, and grants from the U.S. Department of Education; the National Science Foundation; the Woodrow Wilson, Mellon, and Fulbright Foundations; and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

      She received her Ph.D. in anthropology from Cornell University in 1979.