This project funded by the FWF (P 23204-G15; 10/2011-9/2016) documents and examines the current changes in the construction of ethnic traditions and the performance of ritual among the Kiranti, focusing mainly on the Dumi Rai, and partly the Puma Rai. In the context of the current ethno-political situation of Nepal, with a new constitution recently promulgated which establishes a novel system of federal states, the indigenous concepts of space, landscape and territory are of special significance for the assertion of ethnic belonging.

The overall research question therefore is: How are cultural and territorial spaces being claimed or (re)appropriated through ritual performances like priestly ceremonies, shamanic journeys, community festivals, collective dance etc.? The research focuses on these three main components: ritual, landscape and mimetic movement. While the main region of interest is the rural part of the areas inhabited by the Dumi and Puma Rai (i.e. Khotang District), the political use of the concepts of landscape, ritual and dance in the urban centres and the process of “folklorisation” are also considered.

Project Leader

Martin Gaenszle

PostDoc Researchers

Marion Wettstein, Alban von Stockhausen