David Gellner


Professor of Social Anthropology 

Faculty / College Address:

Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology / All Souls College



Research Interests:

  • Anthropology of South Asia
  • Buddhism, Hinduism
  • Traditional urbanism
  • Healers and their relation to religion
  • Ritual and symbolism
  • Politics, ethnicity and activism

Current Projects:

  • Activism and social change in Nepal
  • Migration and the state in Nepal
  • EU Asialink project ‘The (Micro-)politics of Democratisation: European-South Asian Exchanges on Governance, Conflict and Civic Action (see www.uni-bielefeld.de/midea)

Courses Taught:

  • The anthropology of South Asia (option in Hilary Term)
  • Social anthropology (for Human Sciences and Archaeology and Anthropology undergraduate degrees)
  • MSc/MPQ in Social Anthropology

Recent Publications:


  • 2008 (ed. with K. Hachhethu) Local Democracy in South Asia: The Micropolitics of Democratization in Nepal and its Neighbours. Delhi: Sage.
  • 2007 (ed. with H. Ishii and K. Nawa) Political and Social Transformations in North India and Nepal. Delhi: Manohar.
  • 2005 (with Sarah LeVine) Rebuilding Buddhism: The Theravada Movement in Twentieth-Century Nepal. Harvard University Press.
  • 2003 (ed.) Resistance and the State: Nepalese Experiences. Delhi: Social Science Press. Oxford: Berghahn edition, 2006.
  • 2001 The Anthropology of Buddhism and Hinduism: Weberian Themes. Delhi : OUP.
  • 2001 (ed.) (with E. Hirsch ). Inside Organizations: Anthropologists at Work. Oxford : Berg.


  • 2009. 'The Uses of Max Weber: Legitimation and Amnesia in Buddhology, South Asian History, and Anthropological Practice Theory' in P. Clarke (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion, pp. 48-62. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 2007. ‘Democracy in Nepal: Four Models’ Seminar 576: 50-6.
  • 2007. ‘Caste, Ethnicity, and Inequality in Nepal’ EPW 42(20): 1823-8.
  • 2005 ‘The Emergence of Conversion in a Hindu-Buddhist Polytropy: The Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, c. 1600-1995’ Comparative Studies in Society and History 47(4): 755-80.
  • 2004 ‘Children’s Voices from Kathmandu and Lalitpur, Nepal’ Journal of Asian and African Studies 68: 1-47. (http://www.aa.tufs.ac.jp/book/journal/journal68.pdf).
  • 2003 ‘From Cultural Hierarchies to a Hierarchy of Multiculturalisms: The Case of the Newars of Nepal’ in M. Lecomte-Tilouine and P. Dolfuss (eds) Ethnic Revival and Religious Turmoil in the Himalayas, pp. 73-131. Delhi : OUP.
  • 2001 ‘From Group Rights to Individual Rights and Back: Nepalese Struggles with Culture and Equality’ in J. Cowan, M. Dembour, and R. Wilson (eds) Culture and the Anthropology of Rights, pp. 177-200. CUP.

Further Info:

For a complete list of publications, see:

Photograph of David Gellner