Nepal: Development and Social Change
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Faculty and Staff
Dan Putnam, Academic Director
Dan Putnam is a PhD candidate in geography (with a graduate minor in development studies and social change) and a fellow at the MacArthur Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change at the University of Minnesota. He received his BA in environmental studies and psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and an MA in international development and social change from Clark University. Dan’s research interests concern relations of power (including core-periphery, class-caste, and global-local), how these relations are spatially oriented, and how those who are disadvantaged exercise agency within the development context. His dissertation research, as a Fulbright-Hays Fellow, focuses on the scales of neoliberalization, the ways neoliberal development travels to Nepal and takes hold locally, and how these transnational aid flows are reconfiguring state institutional structures in Nepal.
Dan first came to Nepal as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2000 where he worked with twenty-five village development committees in Palpa District as part of a NARMSAP soil conservation and watershed management project. His master’s research in Nepal focused on the ways in which development organizations were responding to the Maoist “Peoples’ War” and the ways in which conflict shapes development programming. As a Fulbright Scholar in Nepal in 2004–2005, he researched how participatory practices affect and shape local decision making of community forestry user groups. In addition to extensive research experience in Nepal, Dan also has worked for years in experiential education as an education coordinator for Hurricane Island Outward Bound School’s Florida programs.
Anil Chitrakar, Senior Teaching Faculty
Anil Chitrakar received one of the first Ashoka fellowships in Nepal in 1987 for his founding of and subsequent work with Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA). He has spent the past two decades working as a conservationist, environmental leader, and senior Ashoka fellow in Nepal. An engineer by training, Anil pursued graduate work in energy planning at the University of Pennsylvania and then joined the Kathmandu municipality for several years before heading to Washington, DC, to work as a senior fellow in residence. His projects and organizations have received numerous awards and grants, and he is presently working to scale his work on a solar lighting system for rural villages in Nepal. Anil has been teaching and working with SIT students in Nepal for many years and occasionally travels with the program on excursion.
Ram B. Chhetri, Senior Teaching Faculty
Dr. Chhetri is a professor and former head of Central Department of Sociology/Anthropology at Tribhuvan University. He has been a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the University of Georgia and a visiting faculty at the University of Bergen, Norway, and the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague. Ramji has an extensive national and international publication record of books, articles, and reports on a range of topics in community forestry, knowledge systems, social mobilization, livelihood strategies, gender inclusion, and development. Ram holds his PhD from the University of Hawai'i.
Krishna Bhattachan, PhD
Dr. Krishna Bhattachan has a PhD in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a professor of sociology and anthropology at Tribhuvan University. Dr. Bhattachan is an expert on issues related to Nepal's indigenous people. Dr. Bhattachan currently serves as a panel expert for the Centre for Constitutional Dialogue (CCD).
Mukta S. Tamang, PhD
Mukta S. Tamang has a PhD from Cornell University. His publications include “Cultural Diversity and Democracy in Nepal,” Himalayan Research Bulletin, (21)2, 2002; The Working of Democracy in Nepal, seminar, April 2005; and “Culture, Caste and Ethnicity in the Maoist Movement” and studies in Nepali History and Society, (11)2, 2006.
Sudhindra Sharma, PhD
Sudhindra Sharma has a PhD from the University of Tampere in Finland (2001) and is currently a docent in development studies at the University of Helsinki and an adjunct professor of sociology at the Nepa School of Social Sciences and Humanities.
Kesang Tseten is a Nepali filmmaker of Tibetan origin. A graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and of Amherst College, he is the director of Frames of War; We Corner People; Machhendranath: On the Road with the Red God; and We Homes Chaps. He has recently completed three films on Nepali migrant workers in the Gulf.
The program is fortunate to enjoy the expertise and dedication of many other contributors, including:
Mina K. Rana, Language Director & Student Life Coordinator
Mina Rana is originally from the mid-west part of Nepal, Tanahu. She has a bachelor’s degree in law from Tribhuvan University. Mina is very experienced in teaching Nepali to foreign students and scholars, having worked with the US Peace Corps/Nepal and other study abroad programs. Mina has been with SIT Nepal since 2001. As language director, she creates and designs language curriculum and lesson plans specific to student needs. As student life coordinator, Mina helps students adjust to the physical and emotional demands students face when living in a new culture and environment, often becoming students’ didi (big sister) during the course of the semester.
Sanjib Kumar Pokhrel, Senior Language Instructor/Homestay Coordinator/Librarian
Sanjib is from the Eastern Terai of Nepal. He studied law during his intermediate college and has undergraduate degrees in Nepali and political science. He is multilingual, speaking seven languages, and has been teaching the Nepali language to foreigners for the last 15 years with US Peace Corps/Nepal, study abroad programs, and as a private tutor. As the program librarian, Sanjib keeps track of the research library and makes sure students can find what they need. Sanjib also ensures students can access SIT’s online collections. In his role as homestay coordinator, he carefully selects families that will add to each student’s experience. He also coordinates the homestay families’ training to help ensure that the homes become more than just a place to stay during the course.
Chandra Rana, Senior Language Instructor/Excursion Coordinator
Chandra Rana is from the mid hills of west Nepal. He graduated with a BA from Tribhuvan University in anthropology and is well versed in Nepal's historical and present political dynamics. After working with the US Peace Corps and other programs as a Nepali language teacher, he joined SIT in 1997 as a senior language instructor. Chandra is instrumental in helping coordinate student visas with the relevant Nepali agencies. In addition to teaching and assisting with visas, Chandra's other prime role is to reconnoiter and plan out the program’s excursions in the Terai and mountain areas or Annapurna, Khumbu, and Darjeeling, India.
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