Bibliotheca Himalayica

The purpose of Bibliotheca Himalayica is to make available works on the natural history and civilizations of Central Asia and the Himalaya. The selection of books includes new works by present day scholars as well as reprints of classical, out-of-print or antiquarian books. Reprints of older books may include additional contemporary illustrations as well as an up-to-date introduction.
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At Home in the World:
Globalization and the Peace Corps in Nepal
by James F. Fisher
2013, 218 pp., 21 b & w illustrations, endnotes, bibliography, index, 22 x 14 cm., softcover.
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-157-2 $25.00

A detailed first-hand account—and critical analysis—of the impact of the first contingent of American Peace Corps volunteers to live and work in Nepal, arriving in 1962 just following the King’s seizure of absolute power and the tentative opening of the country to the outside world. The book not only explores the successes and failures of the volunteers in their efforts to have a positive effect on Nepalese development, but also the reverse effects of their transformative experience on the lives of the volunteers themselves. The narrative is further expanded as the author places the mission in the broader perspective of the globalization process that has so changed our world in the past 50 years.
   A richly rewarding account for all with interests in globalization, social change, and transnational anthropology.

[Read a review from the Asian Highland Perspective] [Read a review from the Friends of Nepal] [Read a review from the The Kathmandu Post] [Read a review from the Peace Corps Volunteers]
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Caste and Kinship in a Modern Hindu Society:
The Newar City of Lalitpur, Nepal
by Mark Pickett
2014, 384 pp., 25 b & w images, 16 maps, 23 x 15 cm., softcover.
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-136-7 $35.00

[Bibliotheca Himalayica Series III Vol. 18]

This study comprises an in-depth examination of the anthropology of caste as observed in the Newar communities of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, and, by extension, within Hindu society more generally.
   Anthropologists have traditionally held that the phenomenon of caste in South Asia is the expression of a hierarchical system, ranking members in society on the basis of one or more characteristics, such as occupation, power or relative ritual purity.
   The present study argues that caste—and thus civic order—in Newar society derives from the antagonistic relationship between the forces of family lineage and the historic centrality of royal authority, the latter maintained to the present in annual festivals and by the use of urban space.
   In his study of four groups of artisans in the City of Lalitpur—collectively the Pengu Dah—Pickett demonstrates how this creative tension between kinship and kingship results in the institution of caste.
   An important contribution for academic and lay readers with interest in Hindu social structures and South Asian culture.

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Journey to Mustang
by Giuseppi Tucci
2nd English edition, 96 pp., 85 b&w plates, 22 x 14.5 cm., softcover.
ISBN-10: 974-524-024-9 $29.00
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-024-7

In this new edition of his travalogue of an exploratory trek through western Nepal in 1952, the legendary linguist and Tibetologist, Guiseppi Tucci, describes his experiences and discoveries as the first 20th century western scholar to travel through the region. His account preserves an invaluable record of the art, culture, social and religious practices of the inhabitants of Mustang, prior to the inevitable changes that have since occurred, with the intrusion of the modern world and regional politics into this ancient land.
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Three Years In Tibet
by Ekai Kawaguchi
1909, 1979, 1995. xxi, 720 pp., 11 b&w photos (one fold-out), 63 woodcuts, one fold-out map, 22 x 14.5 cm., hardcover.
ISBN-10: 974-524-014-1 $36.00
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-014-8

Reprint of the 1909 original, with a new introduction by H. K. Kuløy. Account of Kawaguchi’s now legendary solo trip, beginning 1899, through a Tibet long hostile to all outside visitors. Passing himself off at times as a Chinese doctor and at others as a native Tibetan, Kawaguchi managed to traverse practically the entire length of Tibet, largely on foot, reaching Lhasa in 1901—a feat of outstanding courage and endurance, not to mention much good fortune. But the real value of the account is found in the author’s careful and detailed observations of Tibet, Tibetans, and the rule of the 13th Dalai Lama, with whom he met a number of times. Kawaguchi was both awed by Tibetans’ religious discipline and shocked by the cruelty, corruption and sexual licence he saw around him. Overall, a fascinating account for all with interest in this complex society and how it functioned prior to the onslaught of foreign influence, both Chinese and Western, in the 20th century.
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The Mountain of the Horned Sage
by Philippe Ramirez (ed.)
Translated from the French by Susan Keyes.

2000. x, 304 pp., 97 b&w pl., 36 figures and maps, bibliographies of new and ancient references, glossary of Nepali terms, 22.5 x 15.5 cm., softcover.
ISBN-10: 974-524-017-6 $20.00
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-017-9

A multi-disciplinary study of Gulmi and Argha-Khanci, two districts in modern central Nepal which coincide with the boundaries of prominent earlier principalities, prior to the unification of the country in the late 18th century. The study, conducted by a team of French scholars in the early 1990s, traces the history, ecology, ethnology, social and political structure, economic activity and religious ritual of the region’s inhabitants. A fascinating and detailed account of part of Nepal which has subsequently become one of the most troubled in the country.
Trans-Himalayan Traders:
Economy, Society and Culture in Northwest Nepal
by James F. Fisher
2017, 242 pp., 19 b&w photos, 10 figures, 5 maps, appendices, endnotes, bibliography, index, 23 x 15 cm., softcover.
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-201-2 $25.00

On an isolated Himalayan hillside in northwest Nepal, the village that was the subject of this groundbreaking study in the late ‘60s—at the time two weeks’ walk from the nearest commercial transportation—was as culturally complex as it was remote. While the villagers were largely self-sufficient, it was the ways in which they still depended on outside forces that anthropologist Fisher analyses compellingly in this work.
   Republished almost 50 years after the original fieldwork to coincide with the publication of a recent follow-up investigation by Fisher (Trans-Himalayan Traders Transformed), the two volumes provide a fascinating and significant view of the evolution of this once remote culture.
(Reprint; originally published by University of California Press, 1987)

   “…well researched, well analysed and equally well-written ethnography. The author’s style is insightfull and easy-going, with a certain wit and frankness… exceptionally good..”. Donald A. Messerschmidt, Mountain Research and Development, Vol. 6, No. 4.
Trans-Himalayan Traders Transformed:
Return to Tarang
by James F. Fisher
2017, 258 pp., 29 b&w photos, 2 figures, 4 maps, endnotes, bibliography, index, 23 x 15 cm., softcover.
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-202-9 $25.00

Returning to Tarang, a remote village in northwestern Nepal, 44 years after conducting his groundbreaking study there, anthropologist Fisher explores the ways in which modernization and mobility have transformed the livelihood and culture of these once isolated people. Through individual life histories he constructs and analyses the economic and cultural impacts that political, environmental and commercial revolutions in Nepalese society at large have had on the people of Tarang, both transforming their lives and also consolidating and elaborating centuries old societal patterns.
   Together with Fisher’s original study (Trans-Himalayan Traders), recently republished, this volume will be of interest to social scientists and others focused on the changing South and Central Asian worlds.
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Wanderings of a Naturalist in India,
the Western Himalayas and Cashmere
by Andrew Leith Adams, MD
Second imprint 2017 (first edition 1867). 344 pp., 1 ill., index, 21.5 x 14.5 cm., softbound
ISBN-10: 974-524-113-X Price to be announced.
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-113-8

A vivid and early account of the birds and animals, both wild and domesticated, insects and plants of the north India and the western Himalaya, as sighted by Adams in his various expeditions through these regions. The author, in addition, has a keen eye for the landscape through which he conducts us, as well as for fascinating anthropological detail about the indigenous human inhabitants.
   Adams, an army physician, served with British forces in India and Kashmir, as well as in the Middle East and Canada, between 1848 and 1873; he was an avid student of natural history over the course of his postings. Following his retirement, he assumed a professorship of natural history at Trinity College, Dublin.