Yale Himalaya Initiative

environment | livelihood | culture

Profiles

Sponsors:

President Na Jinhua (ethno-resource management)

Vice President Duan Gang (Ethnology)

Vice President Li Bingze (International Education)

Organizers: 

Dan Smyer Yü (Ph.D. University of California at Davis)
Professor/Founding Director
Center for Trans-Himalayan Studies 
Yunnan Minzu University

Dan Smyer Yu is Professor and Founding Director of Center for Trans-Himalayan Studies at Yunnan Minzu University, a core member of the Transregional Research Network (CETREN) at University of Göttingen, and a Research Group Leader at Max Planck Institute for Religious and Ethnic Diversity (on leave 2014-15).  He received his doctoral degree in anthropology from the University of California at Davis in 2006, specializing in trans-regional studies of ethnic relations, religious revitalizations, Sino-Tibetan Buddhist interactions, and globalization. His recent publications include The Spread of Tibetan Buddhism in China: Charisma, Money, Enlightenment (monograph, Routledge 2011) and Mindscaping the Landscape of Tibet: Place, Memorability, Eco-aesthetics (monograph, De Gruyter 2015). His current research directions are transboundary governance of natural and human heritages, water and religious diversity, religion and peacebuilding, comparative studies of secularisms in the greater Himalayan region. He is also a documentary filmmaker. His widely screened films include Embrace (50 min. Tibetan mountain culture and ecology 2011) and Rainbow Rider (55 min. Tibetan Buddhism in China 2013).


Alark Saxena (Ph.D. Yale University)
Program Director/Steering Committee Member
Yale Himalayan Initiative
Lecturer, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Yale University

Alark Saxena is the Program Director of Yale Himalaya Initiative and a Lecturer at the School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesAlark is a social-ecologist who is interested in questions associated to sustainability, resilience and livelihood using a systems approach.  His current research is focused in India and Nepal. In India, Alark is developing a complex model to evaluate livelihood resilience of forest based communities. Within Himalayas, Alark is modeling the impacts of tourism on local livelihood and culture in the Sagarmatha National park, Nepal. Himalayas have been a part of Alark’s life since his teenage days. As the Program Director of Yale Himalaya Initiative, Alark works to strengthen old and forge new relationships between Yale and the Himalayan region. 


Specialists and Instructors: 

Yale University

Andrew Quintman (Ph.D. University of Michigan)
Associate Professor
Department of Religious Studies
Steering Committee Member of Yale Himalaya Initiative
Yale University

Andrew Quintman is Associate Professor of Religious Studies, specializing in the Buddhist traditions of Tibet and the Himalaya. His areas of teaching and research include Buddhist literature and history, sacred geography and pilgrimage, and visual cultures of the wider Himalayan region. He is also interested in the religious and literary histories of Tibet’s unique southern border communities.

His recent book, The Yogin and the Madman: Reading the Biographical Corpus of Tibet’s Great Saint Milarepa (Columbia University Press 2014), won the American Academy of Religion’s 2014 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion and the 2015 Heyman Prize for outstanding scholarship from Yale University. In 2010 his new English translation of the Life of Milarepa was published by Penguin Classics. He is currently working on two new projects, one exploring Buddhist religious and literary culture in the borderlands of Tibet and Nepal, and the other examining the life of the Buddha through the visual and literary materials associated with Jonang Monastery in western Tibet. He has also been working to document and analyze traditional Bhutanese temple artwork within its historical context.

He completed his undergraduate studies at Hampshire College and his graduate work at the University of Michigan. Prior to coming to Yale in 2009, he served for seven years as Academic Director of the School for International Training’s Tibetan Studies program based in Kathmandu. Between 2001-2007 he also led a summer program for Tibetan Studies in Tibet offered through the University of Michigan. From 2006-2009 he joined Princeton University’s Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, where he held the Cotsen-Mellon Fellowship in the History of the Book. He is former Co-Chair of the Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group of the American Academy of Religion and is co-leading a five-year seminar at the AAR on Religion and the Literary in Tibet. He is also Faculty Coordinator for the Yale Himalaya Initiative. For 2015–2017, he is a scholar in the ACLS-Ho Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies.


Alark Saxena (Ph.D. Yale University)
Program Director/Steering Committee Member
Yale Himalayan Initiative
Lecturer, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Yale University


Alder Keleman Saxena,(Ph.D. Yale University)

Fellow- Yale Himalaya Initiative (Food Security and Resilience)
Post Doc Fellow at the AURA program at Aarhus University, Denmark 


Yunnan Minzu University and other international scholars

Dan Smyer Yü (Ph.D. University of California at Davis)
Professor/Founding Director
Center for Trans-Himalayan Studies 
Yunnan Minzu University


Wang Jianhua “Ayoe”, Yunnan Minzu University


Li Yunxia, Yunnan Minzu University


Georgina Drew, Department of Anthropology, the University of Adelaide, Australia 


Uromi Manange Goodale, Associate Professor, College of Forestry, Guangxi University


Reinmar Seidler, Lecturer of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Boston