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Annual Lectures Britain - Nepal Academic CouncilActivitiesAnnual Lectures

16th Annual Nepal Lecture, 01 Nov 2018

August 30, 2018

Event Date: November 1, 2018

Britain-Nepal Academic Council invites you to participate in:

Professorin Dr. Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka, Fakultät für Sozioligie der Universaität Bielefeld

The 16th Annual Nepal Lecture 2018

Event Date: 1 November , 2018

Lecture title:

‘Belonging to Academia? Higher Education, Inequality, and Development’

(प्राज्ञिक क्षेत्रमा आबद्धता? उच्चशिक्षा, असमानता र विकास)

By: Prof. Dr. Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka, Bielefeld University

Date, time and venue

1 November 2018

Time: Reception to start at 17.30 followed by the lecture at 18.30

Venue: Reception at Paul Webley Wing Cloister, and lecture at Djam Lecture Theatre, Main Building

SOAS, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

Hosted by: SOAS, South Asian Institute.


BNAC Annual lecture 2018 poster2 (PDF 622 kb)


Is access to higher education (HE) a mere privilege or is it a right to be enjoyed by everybody? More and more people all around the world, including in Nepal, strive for higher education and seek to enhance their life chances by so doing. Over the last decades, HE institutions have proliferated and the number of students has increased dramatically. Yet, while the student body is becoming more and more heterogeneous – in terms of gender, class, caste, and ethnicity – striking inequalities in access to universities as well as during the educational course persist and are even becoming more accentuated.

This lecture discusses the recent developments in Nepalese academia, especially concentrating on the pathways of students coming from communities formerly denied access to (higher) education. Dalit students are one case in point. Having entered the academic sphere only recently, how do they forge their belonging to academia? Following Dalit pathways through academic institutions permits, and indeed requires, us to reflect on recent changes in the academic realm: the changing nature of the social life of universities, changing visions of the good life and development potential, and the legitimacy and contestations of academic canons. Finally, what can Nepal teach us about global struggles over what should be taught in universities and how we should shape our academic spaces?


Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka is professor of social anthropology at the Faculty of Sociology, Bielefeld University, Germany. She currently acts as Co-Director of the ZiF, the Center for Interdisciplinary Research at Bielefeld University and she is a Senate member of the German Research Foundation. She has been Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Bielefeld University, President of the Swiss Society of Social Anthropology, as well as a Member of Commission 38 at the CNRS.

Prof. Pfaff-Czarnecka’s research, conducted in the field of political and legal anthropology, has focused on ethnicity, inequality, democratization processes at the sub-national level in Nepal, on belonging as well as on the nexus between heterogeneity and inequality observed both in German and in South Asian universities.

Prof. Pfaff-Czarnecka studied at the University of Zurich where she worked for many years as academic collaborator. She then shifted to the Centre for Development Studies at the University of Bonn where she acted as Senior Research Fellow, as Deputy Director, and as Acting Director. She has worked for a number of development organizations in Nepal as consultant, and as translator for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). She has taught at the Universities of Zurich, Bern, Oxford, Tokyo, JNU, and Kathmandu University.

Among her publications are: ‘Spaces of Violence in South Asian Democracies‘ (Special Issue of the Asian Journal of Social Science 45 (6), 2017, ‘Das soziale Leben der Universität: Stundetisches Leben zwischen Selbstfindung und Fremdbestimmung‘ (The Social Life of Universities: Students‘ Lives between Self-Discovery and Heteronomy), Bielefeld: transcript, 2017; Facing Globalization in the Himalayas. Belonging and the Politics of the Self (edited together with G. Toffin), New Delhi: Sage, 2014; Ethnic Futures, written together with A. Nandy, D. Rajasingham, and T. Gomez, New Delhi: Sage, 1999


For more information and enquiries please contact Dr Krishna Adhikari by
email: krishna.adhikari@anthro.ox.ac.uk

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