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Opening of the Nepal Research Bhavan in Kathmandu

28. Feb. 2019

The Nepal Heritage Documentation Project, based at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies, is one of the cooperation partners that hosted the opening of the Nepal Research Bhavan in Kathmandu. The event comprised a reception, the vernissage of the exhibition "Opposite Dreams" and kicked off a two day conference.

The inauguration of the Nepal Research Bhavan as well as the opening of the conference "Masters and Servants: Slavery, Bondage and Unfree Labour in Nepalese History" took place at the South Asia Institute's Branch Office in Nepal on March 2, 2019.  It was hosted by the Kathmandu Branch Office together with the research unit "Documents on the History of Religion and Law of Premodern Nepal" of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Nepal Heritage Documentation Projec (NHDP), and the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures of Hamburg University. The opening also included the vernissage of the exhibition "Opposite Dreams" by the art collective ArTree Nepal.

At the opening, the Nepal Heritage Documentation Project was represented by Damodar Gautam, the Acting Director General of the Department of Archaeology of the government of Nepal, Prof. Christiane Brosius, who is the director of the project and the professor for Visual and Media Antropology at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies, and Arun Saraf and Roshan Mishra from the Saraf Foundation for Himalayan Traditions and Culture, the project's key partner in Nepal.

The conference, organized by the Heidelberg Academy of Science and Humanities and the National Archives Nepal continued on the next day. It commenced with an overview of the history of slavery in Nepal by Prof. Axel Michaels, co-director of the Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS), and secretary of the philosophical-historical section of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Michaels gave another talk with Dr. Manik Bajracharya on "Documents on Slavery" on March 4, the last day of the conference. On that day, Simon Cubelic and Dr. Rajan Khatiwoda talked about "Slavery Chapters of the Mulukī Ain of 1854." Cubelic is a research fellow at the HCTS with his Transcultural Forays programme titled "State-building and the Formation of Political Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century Nepal."

The Nepal Heritage Documentation Project (NHDP) is led by Prof. Christiane Brosius at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS) in cooperation with the Heidelberg Academy of Science and Humanities, represented by Prof. Axel Michaels, and the Heidelberg University Library. In Nepal, the chief partners are the Saraf Foundation for Himalayan Traditions and Culture, the Department of Archaeology of the Government of Nepal, the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust, and UNESCO Nepal.

The project is funded by Arcadia, a charitable fund that supports charities and scholarly institutions in preserving cultural heritage, protecting the environment, and promoting open access.


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  • Kathmandu Branch Office, also the new home of the Nepal Research Bhavan.