Sara Shneiderman is a socio-cultural anthropologist working in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, India and China (especially the Tibetan Autonomous Region). She is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Studies at Yale University. Her research addresses the relationships between political discourse, ritual practice, cultural performance and cross-border migration in producing contemporary ethnic identities. A native of Washington, DC, she received her PhD (2009) and MA (2004) from Cornell University, following a BA with Honors from Brown University in 1997. She has held research fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the US National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the American Council of Learned Societies/Mellon Foundation and at St. Catharine's College, Cambridge.
Sara’s doctoral dissertation was an ethnography of the Thangmi, which focused on how this Himalayan community of approximately 40,000 resident in Nepal, India and China communicate with each other across state borders in a ‘feedback loop’, which provides the momentum for the ongoing reproduction of Thangmi identity. She has also published several articles on the broader themes of Nepal’s Maoist movement and political consciousness; ethnicity, ethnic classification and affirmative action; ritual and religious practice; and gender, agency and identity. Multimedia technologies form a core part of her ethnographic methodology, and she is a founding member of the Digital Himalaya Project.
She is currently involved in a three-year British Academy-funded research project entitled “Inequality and Affirmative Action in South Asia: Current Experiences and Future Agendas in India and Nepal”, while also working on a monograph about the cultural politics of cross-border Thangmi identity, and developing a manuscript on Thangmi ritual texts in collaboration with Nepali colleagues. Sara's publications are listed here.