Workshop 4th & 5th April 2014

Kiranti Culture in Contemporary Nepal

at the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies (ISTB), University of Vienna



Download Flyer and Programme (PDF, 2.5MB)

There has been a growing academic interest in the diverse traditions of Kiranti-speaking groups in East Nepal since the 1970s, when N.J. Allen published his pioneering studies on the Thulung Rai. Especially linguists have done extensive research and documentations of the highly variable languages belonging to the Kiranti subgroup of Tibeto-Burman. However, ethnographic studies have lagged behind: whereas now sketch grammars exist for more than a dozen Kiranti languages, this is not matched by thorough description of cultural traditions. Therefore the workshop is meant to give a platform for the existing expertise on Kiranti cultures and to discuss the present state of research. A particular focus will be on “Kiranti religion”, which is a label acknowledged in the Nepal Census since 1991 but which is still a little known entity. In the present political context of ethnic politics it will be of particular interest to study the changing configuration of these traditions.

Venue: Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies (ISTB), University of Vienna, Room SR 1 (Entrance 2.7)


Friday, April 4, 2014

14.15-14.30 Introductory Remarks

14.30-15.30 The study of Kiranti religion as an emerging field (Prof. Dr. Martin Gaenszle, ISTB, Univ. of Vienna)

15.30-16.00 Coffee Break

16.00-17.00 On the Limbu (Sirijanga) script in the 20th century (Dr. Boyd Michailovsky, LACITO/CNRS, Villejuif)

17.00-18.00 Persistence through changes: Evolution of the Kulung Rai religious practice during the 20th century (Dr. Grégoire Schlemmer, CNRS, Paris)


Saturday, April 5, 2014

9.00-10.00 The language of invocation vis-à-vis the language of communication (Dr. Vishnu Singh Rai, Guest Researcher funded by the Open Society Foundation)

10.00-10.30 Coffee Break

10.30-11.30 Dolokumma: Layers of cultural knowledge and practice in the sakela performance of the Dumi Rai (lic. phil. Marion Wettstein, ISTB, Univ. of Vienna)

11.30-12.30 Walking with the ancestors: New approaches to the study of ritual landscapes in Eastern Nepal (lic. phil. Alban von Stockhausen, ISTB, Univ. of Vienna)

12.30-13.00 Concluding Discussion