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David N. Gellner

Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Oxford

David Gellner is Professor of Social Anthropology and a Fellow of All Souls. He was Head of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography from 2009-2012. His doctoral research (1982-4) was on the traditional, Vajrayana Buddhism of the Newars and on Newar social organization, in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.

He has carried out fieldwork in the Kathmandu Valley on many subsequent occasions, broadening his interests to include politics and ethnicity, healers, mediums, and popular approaches to misfortune, and religious change, in particular the history and effects of the newly introduced Theravada Buddhist movement. In 1991 he did three months’ exploratory fieldwork on Buddhist priests in Japan.

For eight years he taught at Brunel University, west London, the first British university to introduce a Master’s course in medical anthropology. For three years from 2002-5 he held a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for research into the social history and practice of activism in Nepal (for the academic year 2003-4 he combined this with a Visiting Professorship at the Research Institute for Cultures and Languages of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies).

From 2004 to 2007 he was also involved in coordinating the MIDEA project on democratization in South Asia (for details, click here).


  • –present
    Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Oxford