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TOFFIN Gérard - Emeritus senior researcher

Contact: gerard.toffin [at]

Social anthropologist (CNRS section 39)

Research Topics

Gérard Toffin started his research on the Himalayas in the 1970s. He has worked mainly on rural and urban Newar communities in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. He has also carried out research among the Paharis (Pihi) in the district of Lalitpur (Godavari and Lele), in the Nepalese hills among the Tamangs in Ganesh Himal and among the Indo-Nepalese in the districts of Gulmi and Argha Kanchi, as well as in India and in the eastern Nepalese Tarai on the Pranami sect. His work in Nepal led him to team up with agronomists, architects and ecologists (Salme program). From 2008 to 2012 he contributed to the Nepalese part of the ANR project Just-India, ’A Joint Programme on Justice and Governance in India and South Asia’.

His interests lie in material culture, in social organisation and in the religions of the Himalayan populations. He is currently carrying out research on the anthropology of space, especially in Asian towns, as well as on various issues regarding religions in India and in the Himalayas. Several years ago he started researching writings about ethnography and anthropology and the history of anthropological knowledge.

Today Gérard Toffin mainly focuses his research on Newar theatre in the Kathmandu Valley and on political, social, religious and cultural mutations in contemporary Nepal.

He set up and ran a collection, "Chemins de l’ethnologie", published by Editions du CNRS and Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris. He is a member of various Scientific Committees: BULAC (Bibliothèque universitaire des langues et civilisations), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CNRS and the Nepal School of Social Sciences and Humanities (Nepal).
- ethno-ecology
- society and religion
- history of anthropology
- Hindu sect
- anthropology of theatre
- Newar
- Tamang

- Nepal, Kathmandu Valley, Ganesh Himal range, North Bengal, Sikkim, Gujarat
WNO Discussion Series 2 - GÉRARD TOFFIN - on Jyapu in Newar society & culture (2021)

Prof Gérard Toffin : The Religious World of guthis. Three Facets of Newah Civilization, Nepal (2020)


"Gérard Toffin, un ethnologue dans la vallée de Katmandou" (2016)

"Dr. Gérard Toffin: Comprehensive view about Nepal" (2014)

Anthropologie de l’Himalaya : milieux, sociétés, cultures (2007)


Liste des publications dans HAL

Selective Bibliography

Individual books

2013, From Monarchy to Republic. Essays on Changing Nepal. Kathmandu, Vajra Publications, (280 p.).

2010, La fête-spectacle. Théâtre et rite au Népal. Paris, 2010, Éd. de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (199 p. + xii, 38 photos).

2007, Newar Society. City, Village and Periphery. Lalitpur, Social Science Baha/Himal Books, (443 p., + xiii, 9 fig, 40 plates) [2nd edition, revised and enlarged with an Afterword, Sept. 2008].

Edited works

2014a, Facing Globalization in the Himalayas: Belonging and the Politics of the Self. Gérard Toffin and Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka (eds.), Delhi, Sage Publications (Midea Series: Governance, Conflict and Civic Action, VI), (471 p.).

2014b, The Politics of Ethnicity in India, Nepal and China. M. Carrin, P. Kanungo, and G. Toffin (eds), Delhi, Primus.

2014c, The Politics of Ethnicity on the Margins of the State: janjati/adivasis in India and Nepal, M. Carrin, P. Kanungo and G. Toffin (eds.), CNRS-MSH, Paris, Centre de Sciences Humaines-Indian Council of Social Research, Primus Books, Delhi.

2012, Théâtres d’Asie à l’oeuvre. Circulation, expression, politique . Études réunies par H. Bouvier et G. Toffin, Paris, Editions de l’ÉFEO ("Etudes thématiques", 26) (257 p.).

2011, The Politics of Belonging in the Himalayas. Local Attachments and Boundary Dynamics. J. Pfaff-Czarnecka and G. Toffin (eds.), Delhi, Sage Publications (Midea Series, Governance, Conflict and Civic Action, IV) ((346 + xxxviii p.).

Articles, book chapters, bibliographic records, introductions

2014a, "Qu’est-ce qu’une ville sacrée? Népal/Inde. Notes critiques", Revue d’Histoire des Religions, 2014 (3).

2014b, "Nature vs. Culture in Changing Himalayan Societies", in The Book Review (Delhi), South Asia, vol. XXXVIII, No.2, February 2014, pp. 41–42.

2014c, "Globalization and Belonging in the Himalayas and in Trans-Himalayan Spaces", in Gérard Toffin and Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka (eds.), Facing Globalization in the Himalayas. Belonging and Politics of the Self , Delhi, Sage Publications, 2014 (with J. Pfaff-Czarnecka), pp. 1–44.

2014d, "Preface", with J. Pfaff-Czarnecka, in G. Toffin and J. Pfaff-Czarnecka (eds.), Facing Globalization in the Himalayas. Belonging and Politics of the Self, Delhi, Sage Publications, 2014 (with Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka), pp. ix–x.

2014e, "Autochthony and Indigeneity in Nepal and in the Himalayas", in M. Carrin, P. Kanungo, G. Toffin (eds.), The Politics of Ethnicity in India, Nepal, and China. Delhi, Primus, pp. 55–76.

2014f, "Ethnicity in the Margins: experiments and Experiences", in M. Carrin, P. Kanungo, G. Toffin (eds.), The Politics of Ethnicity in India, Nepal, and China. Delhi, Primus (in collaboration with M. Carrin and P. Kanungo), pp. 1–24.

2014g, "Preface", in M. Carrin, P. Kanungo, G. Toffin (eds.), The Politics of Ethnicity in India, Nepal, and China. Delhi, Primus (in collaboration with M. Carrin and P. Kanungo), p. IX.

2014h, "Ritual as Theatre: The Theatrical Dimension of the Indra Jâtrâ Festival (Nepal)", in T. Lewis and B. Owens (eds.), Sucâruvâdadeshika: A Festchrift Honoring Professor Theodore Riccardi. Kathmandu: Himal Books/Social Science Baha, 2014, pp. 224–239.

2014i, "Imagined territories", The Kathmandu Post, 28 January 2014.

2014,j "Spirit of the gift", The Kathmandu Post, 10 February 2014.

2014k, "The Inclusive State. A Philosophy and Sociology of Social Inclusion", in O. Gurung, M. Tamang, and M. Turin (eds.), Perspectives on Social Inclusion and Exclusion in Nepal. Kirtipur-Kathmandu: Tribhuvan University, Central Department of Sociology/Anthropology, 2014, pp. 218–240.

2014l, "Fervent revolution", The Kathmandu Post, 5 March 2014.

2014m, "Crucible of civil society", The Kathmandu Post, 31 March 204.

2013a, "The Adivasi/Janajati Movement in Nepal: Myths and Realities of Indigeneity", in V. Arora and N. Jayaram (eds.), Routeing Democracy in the Himalayas. Experiments and Experiences. Delhi, Routledge, 2013, pp. 29–49 [Republication of article No. 2009b, slight corrections and new photos].

2013b "Living realities. The Results of the Census buttress identity politcs and the extremist’s religious chauvinism", The Kathmandu Post, 9 January 2013.

2013c "Local trust networks", The Kathmandu Post, 27 January 2013.

2013d "Unseen violence", The Kathmandu Post, (in collaboration with S. Shakya), 28 February 2013.

2013e "Interview on Newar Society and Culture", Matina , vol. 7, No.16, 2013, pp. 10–14.

2013f "Gopal Singh Nepali and the Newars", Matina , vol. 7, No.16, 2013, pp. 4–6.

2013g "Antonin Artaud et le théâtre oriental", Jeu, revue de théâtre, 147, June 2013, pp. 165–169.

2013h "Par-delà parenté et caste : la filiation spirituelle dans le monde hindou", in A. Névot (ed.), De l’un à l’autre. Maîtres et disciples. Paris, CNRS Éditions, 2013, pp. 157–188.

2013i "Enforced boundaries", The Kathmandu Post, 26 March 2013.

2013j "Dâna. The Practise of Giving in Newar Buddhism. Dâna as an Art of Living", Vairochana, 8, 2013, pp. 66–81.

2013k "Urban Fringes: Squatter and Slum Settlements in the Kathmandu Valley (Nepal)", in J. Smadja (ed.), Territorial Changes and Territorial Restructuring in the Himayas. Delhi, 2013, Adroit Publishers, pp. 285–300 [Republication of article 2010b, with few corrections and new photos].

2013l "Fantasy and reality", The Kathmandu Post, 16 April 2013.

2013m "Crossing the sea", The Kathmandu Post, 5 May 2013.

2013n "Bewitched", The Kathmandu Post, 16 July 2013.

2013o "Politics of identity", The Kathmandu Post , 20 August 2013.

2013p "Visions of the past", The Kathmandu Post , 23 September 2013.

2013q "What is a secular nation?", The Kathmandu Post , 7 October 2013.

2013r "Quel avenir pour la république népalaise ?", Diplomatie , No.65, November-December 2013, pp. 68–72.

2 013s "The Maobadi Thermidor", The Kathmandu Post, 29 November 2013.

2013t "The divine marathon", The Kathmandu Post, 17 December 2013.

2013u "A Rejoinder to David Gellner", Contributions to Nepalese Studies, vol. 40, 2013,

2012a “Religion et politique au Népal (1951-2010)”, in C. Jaffrelot et A. Mohammad-Arif (eds.), Religion et Politique en Asie du Sud. Le sécularisme dans tous ses états. Paris, École des hautes Études en sciences sociales (col. Purushartha, 30), 2012, pp. 117–135.

2012b “Gender and Social Change among the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley (1950-2004)”, in J. Dragsbaek Schmidt and T. Roedel Berg (eds), Gender, Social Change and the Media: Perspectives from Nepal. Jaipur: Rawat Publications, 2012, pp. 89–118 [slightly corrected version of chapter 13 of Newar Society. City, Village …, 2007].

2012c "A Vaishnava Theatrical Performance in Nepal: The kâttî-pyâkhã of Lalitpur City", Asian Theatre Journal , 2012, vol. 29, 1, pp. 126–163.

2012d “Théâtre et royauté entre Inde et Népal. A propos de l’Indra Jâtrâ à Katmandou”, Théâtres d’Asie à l’oeuvre. Circulation, expression, politique. Edited by H. Bouvier and G. Toffin. Paris, École française d’Extrême-Orient (“Études thématiques”, 26). 2012, pp. 37–57.

2012e "Pour une anthropologie des théâtres d’Asie", avec H. Bouvier, in H. Bouvier et G. Toffin (eds), Les théâtres d’Asie à l’œuvre. Circulation, expression, politique, Paris, Editions de l’ÉFEO, 2012, pp. 11–35.

2012f "Le Népal est-il devenu un pays laïque ? Voyage à travers quelques nouveaux mouvements religieux", La Lettre de Garuda. 4, 2012, pp. 2–3.

2012g "Jeu théâtral et acte rituel chez les Néwar du Népal. Une introduction au théâtre néwar", in E. Feuillebois- Pierunek (ed.), Théâtres d’Asie et d’Orient. Traditions, rencontres, métissages. Bruxelles, P.I.E. Peter Lang ["Dramaturgies", 30], 2012, pp. 141–164.

2012h "Sin and Expiation in Nepal: The Makar Melâ Pilgrimage in Panauti", in P. Granoff and K. Shinohara (eds.), Sin and Sinners: Perspectives from Asian Religions. Leiden, Brill, 2012, pp. 324–356.

2012i "The Power of Boundaries. National and transnational Links among Krishna Pranamis of India and Nepal", in J. Zavos, D. Reedy, P. Kanungo, M. Warrier and R. B. Williams (eds.), Public Hinduisms. Delhi, Sage, 2012, pp. 232–247.

2012j "Talking about Revolutions", The Kathmandu Post, 29 June 2012.

2012k "Social Whirl: Changing forms of religion are an excellent indicator of the current transformations in Nepal", The Kathmandu Post, 29 June 2012.

2012l "Nepali Carnivals: An Anthropological Account", Vairochana , No.6, Kathmandu, pp. 93–95.

2012m "Violence and ahimsa", The Kathmandu Post, 16 October 2012.

2012n "Théâtre des émotions. Un art dramatique népalais", Diogène , No. 238, 2012, pp. 1–18.

2011a "The Propagation of a Hindu Sect in India and Nepal. The Krishna Pranâmî Sampradây", South Asia. Journal of South Asian Studies, 2011, vol. 34, No.1,
pp. 1–30.

2011b "On the Margins of Hindutva. The Krishna Pranâmî Sect in Nepal and India", in D. Berti, N. Jaoul and P. Kanungo (eds.), The Cultural Entrenchment of Hindutva. Mediation, Convergence, Resistance. Delhi, Routledge, 2011, pp. 161–184.

2011c "Brotherhood and Divine Bonding in the Krishna Pranami Sect", in J. Pfaff-Czarnecka and G. Toffin (eds.), The Politics of Belonging in the Himalayas. Local Attachments and Boundary Dynamics. Delhi, Sage Publications, 2011, pp. 144–166.

2011d "The Balâmî Kâttî-Pyâkhã. A Living Theatrical Tradition in the Nepalese Hills", Matina , vol. 6, No.14, 2011, pp. 9–17.

2011e "Newar Peasantry and Subaltern Studies: Past and Present", in European Bulletin of Himalayan Research, 2011, 38, pp. 163–174.

2011f “Women, Law and Democracy in Nepal. An Interview with Sapana Pradhan-Malla”, European Bulletin of Himalayan Research, No. 39, 2011, pp. 146–161 (in collaboration with S. Shakya).

2011g "An Ancient Natak in Nepal: The Balami Katti Pyakhã (Kartik Nac) of Pharping", Sangeet Natak Akademi Journal , vol. XLV, No.1, 2011, pp. 3–18.

2011h "Introduction. Belonging and Multiple Attachements in Contemporary Himalayan Societies". Introduction to The Politics of Belonging in the Himalayas . Local Attachments and Boundary Dynamics, in collaboration with J. Pfaff-Czarnecka, Delhi, Sage Publications, 2011, pp. iv–xxxviii.

2011i "Preface", The Politics of Belonging in the Himalayas. Local Attachments and Boundary Dynamics , in collaboration with J. Pfaff-Czarnecka, Delhi, Sage Publications, 2011, pp. iii–iv.

2011j "The Trickster in Himalayan Theatre and Folklore: Newar bâthahs", Sangeet Natak Akademi Journal, (in collaboration with S. Shakya), vol. XLV, No.3-4, 2011, pp. 3–32.

2010a "The Art and Craft of Ethnography. Lucien Bernot (1919-1993)", in R. Parkin and A. de Sales (eds.), Out of the Study and into the Field. Ethnographic Theory and Practice in French Anthropology, New York/Oxford, Berghahn (col. "Methodology and History in Anthropology", vol. 22), 2010, pp. 197–218.

2010b "Urban Fringes: Squatter and Slum Settlements in the Kathmandu Valley (Nepal)", Contributions to Nepalese Studies, 2010, Volume 37, No.2, pp. 151–168.

2010c "How to Combine Citizenship and Diversity? France, India and Nepal", European Bulletin of Himalayan Research, 2010, 37, pp. 27–55.

2010d Bibliographic record "Espace", in Dictionnaire de l’Inde contemporaine. Edited by F. Landy, Paris Armand Colin, Paris, 2010, pp. 199–200.

2010e "Espaces, rituels et sociétés. Synthèse de la thématique", (in collaboration with Yves Goudineau) in Les Mondes de l’Asie et du Pacifique. Recherches et enjeux . Edited by B. Thomann and V. Alexandre-Journeau (Réseau Asie), Les Indes savantes, Paris, 2010, pp. 207–211.

Complete list of publications

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