Katey Blumenthal

Cultural Anthropology

Regional Focus: Himalaya: Ladakh, India; Mustang, Nepal.

Topical interests: Identity, social hierarchy, Tibetan Buddhism, music as ritual.

My fieldwork is among a hereditary lineage of musicians in Ladakh and Nepal. While these musicians are of Islamic Persian descent, their music has been adopted by Tibetan Buddhist social and liturgical contexts. Being simultaneously incorporated into Buddhist socieities and peripheralized from it, their identities have been cause of local and regional tension. I am interested in understanding the symbology of their musical rituals in social contexts. How do historically imposed identities and stigmas of these musicians shift in the face of social unrest? Can entangled discourses, such as social stigma and tradition, evolve separately and what are the effects on individual identities? And how does the revitalization of musical traditions change collective identities?

Himalayan Folk Music Blog

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