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World in View: Social Exclusion in a Low-Income Country Context - Nepal (Part 1)

  • Monday, February 22, 2021
  • 10:00 AM- 11:00 AM
  • Zoom link will be provided

A World in View discussion led by Dr. Yubraj Acharya (Penn State) and Dr. Janak Rai (Tribhuvan University, Nepal)

The primary objective of this set of discussions is to foster an understanding of social exclusion in a context that is very different from that of the United States. The primary objective of this set of discussions is to foster an understanding of social exclusion in a context that is very different from that of the United States. The facilitators will provide an overview of social exclusion in Nepal, a low-income country in South Asia. Within a short span of three decades, Nepal’s political system has morphed from one with an absolute monarchy to a multi-party republic with elected officials at all levels of the government. Leaving behind a decade-long Maoist insurgency and the massacre of the entire royal family, a constituent assembly promulgated a new constitution in 2015.

However, a meaningful protection of the rights of women and disadvantaged groups—a primary objective of the Maoist insurgency and multiple rounds of movements—remains elusive, illustrating how macro-level political changes often leave behind (or, worse, exacerbate) the critical issues that they are intended to address. Against this background, the first discussion will cover topics such as the key dimensions along which exclusion is prevalent in Nepal (focusing on caste/ethnicity, gender, and religion), its evolution over the last few decades, and current challenges. The second discussion will focus on health disparities and cover topics such as differences in health care access, utilization and outcomes across dimensions of caste/ethnicity, gender, and geographic regions.

Dr. Yubraj Acharya is a health economist and an assistant professor in the department of health policy and administration, Penn State. He is interested in understanding health behavior in low-income settings and testing approaches to improve it. He is particularly interested in investigating the barriers to the uptake of preventive health services by disadvantaged groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a doctoral degree in health services organization and policy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Dr. Janak Rai is a cultural anthropologist with over eighteen years of teaching and research experience and an authority on social exclusion in Nepal. He is an associate professor of anthropology at Tribhuvan University, where he teaches courses in ethnographic and historical research and indigenous and minority rights. He has previously served as an academic coordinator of Cornell Nepal Study Program, a study-abroad program for students from Cornell University. His research has been funded by the USAID, DFID, International Alert, and Open Society Foundation. Dr. Rai holds master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology, both from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Recommended readings (to be completed before the discussion):

Pariyar, Sarita. The old weight of caste. The Record, 10 December 2018. Available online here.

Gurung, Harka. Trident and Thunderbolt: Cultural Dynamics in Nepalese Politics. The Mahesh Chandra Regmi Lecture 2003. This reading will be emailed to scholars.

Please note: Registration for events in this series is required and, given the topics and speakers, we anticipate interest to be high. For this reason, each event is limited to 25 Scholars and early registration is strongly encouraged. Participants of each event will also receive a complimentary electronic gift card.

Event Contact

Sarah Lyall-Combs
svl1@psu.edu
Other
Schreyer Scholar Hannah Lombardo

With their small size and engaging professors, the hallmark feature of honors classes is being able to facilitate the deeper and more meaningful learning of course material in an intimate setting. Having that personal feedback in an environment that promotes asking questions has been very formative in my education.

Hannah Lombardo '20 Science BS/MBA

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