Kalzang Dorjee Bhutia
Grant TypeWorkshop Grant
Institutional AffiliationCalifornia, Riverside, U. of
Grant numberGr. CONF-879
Approve DateMarch 23, 2022
Project TitleBhutia, Kalzang (California, Riverside, U. of) "Revisiting, Rejecting, and Reclaiming the Colonial Archive: A Critical History of the Anthropological Study of the Sikkimese and Darjeeling Himalayas"
The Sikkim/ Darjeeling region of the eastern Himalayas was widely studied by Europeans during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The cultures and histories of local communities were the focus of much of the colonial-era scholarship on the region, and paved the way for the field of Himalayan anthropology. However, Sikkim and Darjeeling were frequently represented by scholars as inferior sites for research compared to Tibet due to their diverse inhabitants who practiced overlapping traditions. Colonial representations continue to influence the understanding of ethnicity, culture, and history in the region. This collaborative project brings together a group of interdisciplinary scholars who are originally from the Sikkim/ Darjeeling region and who study their own communities to critically deconstruct colonial representations of Sikkimese cultures and histories. This grant will support a workshop for scholars from the region in December, 2022 that aims to decolonize anthropological representations of the eastern Himalayas. This workshop will result in a co-edited volume by the grant applicants that will include essays from the workshop and a co-written introduction written by the organizers on the history of anthropology in the eastern Himalayas.