I am a social anthropologist who studies how the political and economic changes associated with state-sponsored projects of modernization affect families and communities.
My research has focused on culturally Tibetan societies in Nepal and in China and on understanding the logic underlying variations in systems of kinship and marriage, parenting, and demographic change. My earlier research was carried out among peasant farmers in northwestern Nepal and concerned the ways in which individuals, households, and communities coped with economic scarcity and conditions of pre-modern mortality. My current research considers the consequences of government-sponsored policies of sedentarization for Tibetan pastoralists in Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu Provinces, China and how relocation to newly constructed towns and adaptations to new ways of living has affected their family relationships, community ties, cultural values, and health and well-being.
Family and marriage; multi-species anthropology; pastoralism, sedenterization, and resettlement; political economy, development, and social change, gender; Himalayas, Tibet and Central Asia
1987 Differential Child Care in Three Tibetan Communities: Beyond Son Preference. Population and Development Review. 13(2).
1987 Caste, State and Ethnic Boundaries in Nepal. Journal of Asian Studies 46:71-88.
1988 The Dynamics of Polyandry. University of Chicago Press.
1997 with J. Silk. Why Polyandry Fails: Sources of Instability in Polyandrous Marriages. Current Anthropology 38:375-398.
1999 Cattle and the Cash Economy: Responses to Change Among Tibetan Nomadic Pastoralists. Human Organization 58:161-172.
2008 Alternative Kinship, Marriage, and Reproduction. Annual Review of Anthropology, 37:375–89