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  • Centre d'Etudes Himalayennes
    UPR 299 - CNRS
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  • 2, cours des Humanités
  • 93322 Aubervilliers Cedex
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CEH workshop – Thursday 15 December 2022

3pm–5pm, with Serena Bindi and Aidan Seale-Feldman


Experiences of Loss and Grief in Changing Himalayan Landscapes

Serena Bindi, Associate Professor, Université Paris Cité/Canthel and CEH associate member,
and Aidan Seale-Feldman, assistant professor, Université Notre Dame/Université Paris Cité/Canthel
Discussion : Anne de Sales (CNRS, LESC and CEH associate member)

The past decade has seen major shifts in the therapeutic landscape of the Himalayas. In Nepal, the People’s War and the 2015 earthquakes have galvanized the expansion of psychosocial interventions in the wake of violence and disaster. In Uttarakhand, the 2013 floods and recent COVID pandemic have contributed to the spread of new community based mental health programs throughout the region. In both Nepal and Uttarakhand, these new practices and languages have joined an already diverse landscape of healing, which also includes ritual, shamanistic, oracular, and other religious practices that respond to affliction and misfortune. Within this context, our broader ongoing project (ANR–PHANTASIES) explores how the lived experience of loss and grief takes form within a plural landscape where multiple therapeutic, ritual, and symbolic approaches to loss coexist.

In this talk we explore the phenomenology of loss, as both shared cultural form and uniquely singular lived experience. In anthropology, there is a long history of the study of death and mourning : however. grief has proved to be a more slippery object of inquiry. What methodological approaches make it possible to study grief, and what are the ethical dimensions of approaching another’s intimate experience of loss ? Is the experience of grief a product of shared cultural values around death and loss, or is it a singular experience that takes different forms according to the unique qualities of each relationship between a person and their lost object of desire. We consider these questions through two ethnographic cases drawn from our respective field sites – one in which a mother dreams of her lost daughter and another in which a son waits for the presence of his dead father to manifest in his own body.

Campus Condorcet
Bâtiment de recherche Sud, room 2.122 (2nd floor)
5 cours des Humanités, Aubervilliers
Metro line 12 Front Populaire, exit 2
To follow the workshop online : link