Sara Shneiderman

Associate Professor, Anthropology and School of Public Policy & Global Affairs, University of British Columbia

I am a socio-cultural anthropologist with long-term ethnographic commitments in the Himalayas and South Asia, and emerging research engagements in British Columbia, Canada. I serve as Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology as well as in UBC’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs and Institute of Asian Research. My first book, Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), offers new explanations for the powerful persistence of ethnicity as a category of identification today despite the increasing realities of mobile, translocal lives. Broadly speaking, my research explores how social transformation is shaped by dynamics of citizenship and belonging (in relation to Indigenous, ethnic, religious and gender identities); cross-border mobility; conflict and political mobilization; territory and land use; development discourses and practices; and disaster aftermath and preparedness. Current research projects include a transdisciplinary SSHRC Partnership Development Grant focused on Nepal’s post-earthquake reconstruction; an ethnography of “post-conflict” state restructuring in Nepal; an exploration of trans-Himalayan citizenship across the historical and contemporary borders of India, China, and Nepal; participation in a University of Toronto-based project on infrastructure and development in Nepal’s agrarian districts; and collaboration in a Yale University-based project on urbanization and land use change in the Himalayas. I am in the early stages of two new research projects in British Columbia: one focused on the sociopolitical dimensions of disaster preparedness and governance; and the other about Nepali-Canadian experiences, in collaboration with the Nepal Cultural Society of BC.

Experience

  • 2017–present
    Associate professor, University of British Columbia
  • 2015–2017
    Research assistant professor, University of British Columbia
  • 2011–2014
    Research assistant professor, Yale University
  • 2009–2011
    Postdoctoral research fellow, St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge

Education

  • 2009 
    Cornell University, PhD
  • 2004 
    Cornell University, MA
  • 1997 
    Brown University, BA Honours

Publications

  • 2018
    Darjeeling Reconsidered: Histories, Politics, and Environments, Oxford University Press
  • 2017
    Citizenship, Gender, and Statelessness in Nepal: Before and After the 2015 Constitution in Understanding Statelessness. Tendayi Bloom, Katherine Tonkiss and Philip Cole, eds., Routledge
  • 2015
    Restructuring States, Restructuring Ethnicity: Looking Across Disciplinary Boundaries at Federal Futures in India and Nepal, Modern Asian Studies
  • 2015
    Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India. , University of Pennsylvania Press
  • 2014
    Reframing Ethnicity: Academic Tropes, Recognition Beyond Politics, and Ritualized Action in Nepal and India, American Anthropologist
  • 2013
    Himalayan Border Citizens: Sovereignty and Mobility in the Nepal-Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) of China Border Zone, Political Geography
  • 2013
    The Practices, Policies and Politics of Transforming Inequality in South Asia: Ethnographies of Affirmative Action, Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology

Grants and Contracts

  • 2017
    Expertise, Labour and Mobility in Nepal’s Post-Conflict, Post-Disaster Transformation
    Role:
    PI
    Funding Source:
    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • 2016
    NASA (Land Cover Land Use Change Program) - collaborator
    Role:
    Collaborator
    Funding Source:
    NASA
  • 2015
    Restructuring Life: Citizenship, Territory and Religiosity in Nepal’s State of Transformation
    Role:
    PI
    Funding Source:
    Wenner-Gren Foundation
  • 2014
    Infrastructures of Democracy: Post-conflict transition and state building in Nepal’s agrarian districts
    Role:
    Co-Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • 2009
    Inequality and Affirmative Action in South Asia: Current Experiences and Future Agendas in India and Nepal
    Role:
    Co-Investigator
    Funding Source:
    British Academy

Professional Memberships

  • American Anthropological Association
  • Association for Asian Studies