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Dr Samuele Poletti is awarded BNAC PhD Dissertation Prize 2019February 26, 2019
The Britain Nepal Academic Council (BNAC)’s PhD Dissertation Prize (2019) is awarded to Dr Samuele Poletti for his PhD dissertation chapter ‘The good, the dead and the Other: Chronicles of a Nepali Phantasmicide’
A panel of judges from the BNAC comprising Dr Stefanie Lotter, Prof. Padam Simkhada and Dr Sara Parker, awarded the prize to the paper and commented: “The dissertation chapter…discusses the omnipresence of spirits of the dead in Sinja, Jumla. The chapter is an exceptional example of a thick description providing insights into the construction of personhood vis-à-vis a transgressing spirit world. A fascinating read that will hopefully soon be available to a wider audience.”
This paper is derived from Samuele’s PhD research, at the Department of Social Anthropology, the University of Edinburgh.
The panel awarded second place to Dr Bishnu Prasad Choulagai for his PhD dissertation Chapter in Skilled Birth Attendant Service in Nepal: Overcoming barriers to utilization’, which he carried out from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
This year, there were altogether 8 high-quality submissions for the award. PhD students and recent graduates (within two years of graduation) from the social sciences or the humanities, registered in South Asian or European universities and conducting research about Nepal or the Nepali cultural world, were eligible to take part in the competition by submitting a chapter or paper from their PhD research.
The prize, worth £250, will be awarded at a function during the 17th Nepal Study Days (Nepal Conference) on 15-16th April 2019 in Durham.
The Prize was set up by the BNAC in 2017 to encourage and reward excellent research chapter/paper by a PhD student or recent PhD graduate. There are prizes available in America, and prizes exist for writing a Master’s thesis but there was no such prize for PhD students in Europe or South Asia researching Nepal.
The BNAC General Secretary Dr Punam Yadav said: “This is the second year in a row since the prize was first awarded in 2018. So far the response has been very encouraging. The BNAC will reflect upon these successes and decide about the format of the competition in coming year(s).”
Full text of the results issued by the PhD Dissertation Prize Committee is as follows:
BNAC PhD dissertation prize
There were 8 submissions of excellent quality demonstrating a wide range of scholarship on Nepal. After considerable discussion, the judges agreed on the following:
- First place, and the dissertation prize, is awarded to Samuele Poletti (Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh). The dissertation chapter ‘The good, the dead and the Other: Chronicles of a Nepali Phantasmicide’ discusses the omnipresence of spirits of the dead in Sinja, Jumla. The chapter is an exceptional example of a thick description providing insights into the construction of personhood vis-à-vis a transgressing spirit world. A fascinating read that will hopefully soon be available to a wider audience.
- Second place was awarded to the thesis chapter ‘Skilled Birth Attendant Service in Nepal: Overcoming barriers to utilization’ by Bishnu Prasad Choulagai (PhD University of Gothenburg now Institute of Medicine at Tribhuvan University Nepal). This detailed and well-planned research project in Bajhang, Dailekh, Kanchanpur and Bhaktapur contributes meticulously documented research to the growing body of mixed-method studies exploring barriers to health-service provision.
Dissertation Prize Committee (Sara Parker, Padam Simkhada, Stefanie Lotter)