Kalzang Dorjee Bhutia

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Southern California, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10458

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Bhutia, Kalzang (Southern California, U. of) "Returning the Temple: Recovering and Repatriating Sikkimese Buddhism from Colonial Structures"

When L.A. Waddell, the famous Buddhist studies scholar, was based in the Darjeeling district as a colonial officer, he purchased a Sikkimese Buddhist temple. What happened to that temple? This book traces the history of Waddell’s purchased temple as a way to explore the legacies of colonialism in Sikkim and how they have influenced the representation and practice of the anthropological study. of Buddhism in scholarship and the public sphere. I will examine repatriation beyond physical objects as an intellectual and emotional act of repairing relations to consider ideas and traditions that have been displaced along with objects and bodies. I draw on primary sources from across multiple languages and ethnographical research to center Indigenous and Buddhist perspectives and critically deconstruct colonial misrepresentations. In doing so, this work contributes to scholarship on repatriation and reconciliation in anthropology through an Indigenous lens.