Further information on Spring 2019 courses


Jim Fisher: Sherpas – Now and Then, Here and There


Course text and readings

Readings will include Sherpas by James Fisher (University of California Press, available at Content Books and online COST?) and articles by Fisher and by Pasang Yangjee Sherpa, a Nepali Sherpa anthropologist.  Her research areas include climate change, indigeneity, and development in the Himalayas.  She will visit several of the classes to discuss the Sherpa Diaspora project on which she and Fisher are currently collaborating.  Brief ethnographic films will be shown in some classes.


Schedule of classes (subject to modification)

Class 1: What anthropology is, how Sherpas are adapting to the changing times, and why an anthropological view of different Sherpa lives gives a particularly perceptive view of them. 

Class 2: Who are Sherpas and how do they differ from other Himalayan peoples?

Class 3: What are the economic and religious foundations of Sherpa society over the last 100 years?

Class 4: What is the Sherpa Diaspora and when did it begin?

Class 5: How has mountaineering and trekking tourism affected Sherpa life?

Class 6: What do Sherpas (as opposed to non-Sherpa, outside observers) have to say for themselves. 

Class 7: Sherpa life (and lives) in the United States.  Just because they have settled here, and don’t climb mountains, doesn’t mean they are no longer Sherpas?  How do they maintain their cultural identity in the United States?

Class 8: What about the future for Sherpas?  What pathways are they carving out for themselves?