Uma Pradhan Wins 2015 Dor Bahadur Bista Prize for Paper on Mother-Tongue Education in Nepal

10 June, 2015

Congratulations to DPhil student Uma Pradhan, who has been awarded the 2015 Dor Bahadur Bista Prize for best graduate student paper for an article on mother-tongue education in Nepal.

The prize is awarded annually by the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies (ANHS) and recognises outstanding scholarship by students whose research focusses on the areas of High Asia (Hindu Kush – Karakoram – Himalaya – Tibetan Plateau).

Uma’s article, ‘New Languages of Schooling: Ethnicity, Education and Equality in Nepal’, explores the ways in which people position themselves within the polarising debates of ethnicity-based claims on education in Nepal.

Drawing on an ethnographic study of mother-tongue education schools, it illustrates that the students made meaning in their everyday life by seeking membership into multiple groups and displaying apparently contradictory dynamics.

Using the notion of ‘simultaneity’, the paper argues that contrary to the essentialist categories espoused in both nationalist discourse and ethnic activism, students in these schools display simultaneous membership to multiple groups and identities that were seen as neither incompatible nor binary opposites.

The award committee noted that the paper was ‘an original, very well written, and timely piece. We particularly appreciated your masterful balance between your ethnographic data, which was quite rich and observant, and your use of theory, which was always present and well informed but never overwhelming.’
The prize will be presented at the South Asia conference in Madison, Wisconsin, in October at the ANHS general members meeting.

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