PhD: Rutgers University, 2012; BA: Trinity College, CT, 2006
I was born and raised in Nepal. After completing my graduate studies at Rutgers University, I joined the Loyola History Department in fall 2012. My research interests broadly span state-making, histories of law, slavery, gender, and labor relations in South Asia. My dissertation, "Leviathan or Paper Tiger: State Making in the Himalayas, 1740-1900”, using previously unstudied sources illustrates that the Nepali State did not grow by focusing on military power but by the intertwining strategies of literary and religious patronage, creation of genealogies, as well as the politicization of ritual and rank. The hierarchical distribution of privileges and exemptions shaped by family, clan and gender relations generated regimes of power that over time established Nepal on its path to monarchy. I argue that these processes are most readily traceable through the examination of legal codes, especially of the compilation called the Ain of 1854. My research shows that political-economic forces shaped and were in turn shaped by the codification of laws which were particularly pivotal in the construction and sustenance of caste relations. The categorization and reshuffling of diverse ethnic/caste groups, my research demonstrates, were driven by the eighteenth and nineteenth century need for labor and the centralization of state power and not merely informed by ancient religious injunctions. In doing so, my research builds a case that manipulations of caste relations through marriage and control of symbolic and ranking order made the intersection of many other systems cohere as a state. I am currently revising my dissertation into a book manuscript on comparative state-making in South Asia.
My teaching philosophy is rooted in the belief that a historical training, grounded in source criticism together with critical reading and writing skills, should prepare students to think how they know about what they know of the past, and encourage them to question the hidden assumptions embedded in the received ‘truths'. I believe that through such training students will come to critically examine the relationship between power and the writing of history, and see how that has shaped and continues to shape their understandings of the world around them both in order to affect change and to prepare for a variety of vocations.
In my free time, I enjoy running, hiking, camping, and simply being in the nature.
Global History I
World Civilizations II
History of India
State Making and Political Imaginations
Women and Gender in Modern India
Historical Methods Lab
Gender and Nation
South Asia Through Film