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    UPR 299 - CNRS
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Home > Staff members > Associate members and guest researchers


Anthropologist, Institut de sociologie et d’anthropologie, Université Lille I and CNRS (CLERSÉ)

Contact : brigitte.steinmann [at]

Fields of research, professional interests and keywords

General anthropology, history of anthropology, epistemology, comparative ethnologies, methods of collecting ethnographic data, myth and history, historiography (applied to specific fields of research in Asia, 20th-21st centuries), languages and societies, applied to the revolutions in Asia and Europe since the 18th century).

Specific professional interest in the following areas

Ethnography and ethnology in Nepal since the 1980s and in Sikkim (India) since the 1990s: Tibeto-Burmese and Buddhist societies (Tamangs of Nepal, Lepchas of Sikkim), environment, social organization (land use methods, agricultural techniques, uses), transformations of traditional lifestyles and social ties (family, kinship) due to emigration, introduction of notions of a monetary economy in the rural world, urban sociology, contemporary political revolutions in Nepal and India (Maoism, Naxalism).


I have been doing research in Nepal, Sikkim and Tibet since the 1980s and in the following countries and regions:

Nepal (1980-2013) central and eastern regions of Nepal (Kabhre Palanchok, Langtang, Ganesh Himal, north and northeast border regions: Kanchenjunga, Walungchung gola) from 1980 to 2013 (annual or biannual 1-3 month field trips).

Sikkim and Tibetan areas of India (1993-2007): preliminary research in the central-eastern (Gangtok) and western (Pemayangtse) regions from July to October 1993 (three weeks per year from 1993 to 2007); populations of the northern border of Sikkim (Lepchas, Dzongu reserve) in 1995 and 1997; Dharamsala in 1994 and 1995.

China, Tibet, Pakistan (1998-2013) China (Szechuan, Yunan, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Dunhuang, Xinzhang, Beijing, Qinghai) in 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2011; Tibet (Lhasa) and central Tibet in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2007; Pakistan (northern borders and Karakorum) in 1998.

Main publications

2013- "Nature Reserves, National Politics and Local Resistances: why do the Lepchas of Sikkim starve to death for their mother land?", Territorial changes and territorial restructurings in the Himalayas, 17-18-19 December 2007, CNRS, UPR 299 "Milieux, sociétés et cultures en Himalaya", Workshop organised by J. Smadja, UPR 299 and sponsored by the CNRS, the Franco-Indian Exchanges Programme (Maison des Sciences de l’Homme) and the "Language, Culture and Territory in North-East India" research programme funded by the ANR. Oxford Press, India, 2.1.2 pages 234-253.

2011- "Aspects géopolitiques et religieux des relations sino-tibéto-népalaises", in Monde chinois. Nouvelle Asie, n° 26, été 2011, pages 76-95.

2005- "National hegemonies, local allegiances. Historiography and ethnography of a Buddhist kingdom", European Bulletin of Himalayan Research 25/26 "Representing local histories in the Himalayas", Universität Heidelberg, Autumn 2003/Spring 2004, special double issue, South Asia Institute, pp. 145-167.

1998- "Territoires et frontières politiques, royaume et divinités montagnardes : l’usage de stéréotypes dans la construction d’une identité nationale (Sikkim)", in Tibetan Mountain Deities. Their Cults and Representations. Ed. by A. M. Blondeau, Papers presented at a panel of the 7th Seminar of the IATS, organized by B. Steinmann and A.M. Blondeau, Graz 1995, Vienne, Verlag Der Österreichischen Akademie Der Wissenschaften 1998, pages 145-158.

1998- "The opening of the sBas Yul Bras Mo’i Gshongs according to the Chronical of the Rulers of Sikkim : Pilgrimage as a Metaphorical Model of the Submission of Foreign Populations (Lepchas) by the Sakyapa conquerors", Pilgrimage in Tibet, ed. by A. McKay, 12-13 september 1996, Leiden, International Conference of the Institute for Asian Studies, Curzon Press Ltd.; UK.; 1998, pages 117-142.

1991- "The political and diplomatical role of a Tibetan village Chieftain (‘go-ba) on the Nepalese frontier" in : Tibetan History and Language, Studies dedicated to Uray Géza on his 70th birthday, Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universität, Wien, ed. by E. Steinkellner, pages 467-485.