Dr. Andrew Nelson | Department of Anthropology

Dr. Andrew Nelson

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Chilton Hall 330N

Since my dissertation research, I have been intrigued by the complementary nature of political economy and symbolic approaches to anthropology. While political economy offers compelling explanations of the macro-scale structures of social inequality, symbolic anthropology evokes the more micro-level social meanings of everyday life. Particularly, in my studies of the economic materialism of the 'house' and the social-moral-emotional attachment of the 'home', I have found an analytical anchor to integrate these approaches into a consolidated frame of analysis for investigating migration and urbanism in several geographic contexts.

The home/house distinction has provided me an entry point to multiple research projects organized into two general clusters of interest:

1. "Home and Away": In studying Nepali rural to urban migration, refugee resettlement in the United States, and undocumented migration through the Americas, I ask how meanings of 'home' are constructed and reconstructed through individual experiences and larger structures of mobility.

2. "Understanding the City through the Urban Periphery": From studies of Kathmandu's urbanizing localities to the diversifying suburbs of Dallas and Ft. Worth, I ask how changes to the urban periphery also reshape the center and the meaning of urbanism in the neoliberal age.

With graduate students, I have had the pleasure of advising projects that deal with anthropological questions of a spatial nature; ranging from oral histories and gentrification politics in Dallas neighborhoods to the social politics of development in a Mexican fishing/tourist town and the social-environmental effects of mining in Minnesota's boundary waters.


2013 Ph.D. Anthropology, University of Virginia
2004 M.A. Anthropology of Media, University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies
2000 B.A. Anthropology, Grinnell College

Selected Consulting Projects

Project: Refugee Resettlement Services
Client: Beginners Community Support Group
Date: 2015-2106

Project: National HIV Behavioral Survey
Client: Texas Department of Health and Human Services
Date: 2014, 2016

Selected Publications

2015. Land and Ethnicity in a Time of Urbanization: The Case of Plot #7 in Western Kathmandu
Valley. Studies in Nepali History and Society 20(2): 249-277.

2015. 'We need an even bigger one': Disasters of Inequality in Post-Quake Kathmandu Valley.
Hotspots, Cultural Anthropology Website.

2015. Classquake: What the Global Media missed in Nepal Earthquake Coverage. The

2013. The Mobility of Permanence: The Process of Relocating to Kathmandu. Working Paper II.
Kathmandu, Nepal: Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility.

2012. Khattam Kathmandu: The Question of Place in Samrat Upadhyay's Fiction. Studies in
Nepali History and Society 17(1): 3-23.

2011. 'No Horn Please': Sociality and Self-Governance in a Kathmandu Housing Colony." In Urban Navigations: Politics, Space, and the City in South Asia, eds. Jonathan S. Anjaria and Colin McFarlane, Routledge.

2009. From 'Unmodern Sherpas' to Madhesi Cricketers: Towards a History of Nepali Sport.
International Journal of the History of Sport 28(12): 1823-1839.

Selected Presentations

2016 "Moving to 'Where the Bus and Train Don't Go': Racial and Class Ideologies of Urban Space for Nepali-Bhutanese Refugees in North Texas." Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting, Vancouver, British Colombia.

2016 "The View from Above: The Privilege and Anxiety of Living in Kathmandu's New Housing Colonies." Himalayan Studies Conference, Austin, Texas.

2015 "Between Social Evil and Necessity: Toward a Meaning of Middlemen in Nepal." Annual Kathmandu Conference on Nepal and the Himalaya, Kathmandu, Nepal.

2015 "Is Bhutani Ghar to Nepali Camp as Suburban House is to Urban Apartment? The Social Networks of Relocation for Nepali-Bhutanese Refugees in North Texas." Society for Applied Anthropology Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

2014 "American Apartments, Bihar Boxes, and a Neo-Newari Renaissance: 21st Century Kathmandu Houses." South Asian Studies Conference, Madison, Wisconsin.

2014 "Nepalis to El Norte: Questions for Nepali Migration to the United States via Latin America." Himalayan Policy Research Conference, Madison, Wisconsin.

2014 "The Cultural Context of Bhutanese Refugees." Asian American Association of City Employees, 16th Annual Asian Pacific Heritage Month Celebration, Dallas City Hall.

2014 "Nepali, Bhutanese, or American? Questions of Nationality and Citizenship amongst Elder Nepali-Bhutanese Refugees in Dallas, Texas." Himalayan Studies Conference, New Haven, Connecticut.

2013 "From Newar Urbanism to Nepali Suburbanism: A Social History of Kathmandu's Sprawl." South Asia Institute, University of Texas-Austin.

2011 "Towards a Post-Crypto-Colonialism: Notes on the Anthropology of Nepal's Non-Colonial Condition." American Anthropological Association meeting, Montréal, Quebec.

2009 "'No Horn Please': The Desire for Security, Order, and Community in a Kathmandu Housing Colony." Fulbright South Asia Conference, Kolkata, India.

2009 "Kathmanduko Nayabasti: Basāĩ-Sarāĩ, Planning, Pakki Ghar, ṭatha tol Samiti." Martin Chautari, Kathmandu, Nepal.

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