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Himalayan Studies

Himalayan Research Guide Introductory Bibliography

Himalayan Studies encompasses diverse geographies, cultural regions, ethno-linguistic groups, and various topics of academic inquiry. This bibliography is aimed at providing an initial introduction, categorized by topics. This is not a comprehensive overview, but instead a set of starting points to encourage students to go further on their own. These books are available through two collections: the UBC Library collections and the collections of the Himalaya Program. The books available at UBC Library have been hyperlinked to the webpage. If you would like to access other books please contact the Himalaya Program:

(*) Contact Himalaya Program for the book:

Note: this page was updated in 2016 and does not fully reflect the current literature.

Art & Visual Culture   /  Development studies  /  Economy   /  Education   /  Ethnicity/Nationalism   /   Environment   /   Ethnography  / Geography/Geology  /  Health & Well-Being  /    History    /  Language   /    Politics & State   /    Religion    /   Urbanization


Bawa, K., & Kadur, S. (2012).  Himalaya: Mountains of Life. ATREE. (*)

Lewis, T. T., & Riccardi, T. (1995).  The Himalayas: a syllabus of the region's history, anthropology, and religion. Assn for Asian Studies Inc. 

Zurick, D., Karan, P. P., & Pacheco, J. (1999).  Himalaya: Life on the Edge of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 

Art & Visual Culture

Harris, C. (1999).  In the image of Tibet: Tibetan painting after 1959. Reaktion Books. 

Harris, C. E. (2012).  The museum on the roof of the world: art, politics, and the representation of Tibet. University of Chicago Press. 

Pal, P. (1991).  Art of the Himalayas: treasures from Nepal and Tibet. Hudson Hills Press.

Slusser, M. S. (1982). Nepal Mandala: A cultural study of the Kathmandu Valley. Princeton University Press. 

Development Studies

Bista, D. B. (1991). Fatalism and development: Nepal's struggle for modernization. Orient Blackswan.

Yeh, E. T. (2013). Taming Tibet: landscape transformation and the gift of Chinese development. Cornell University Press.


Fischer, A. M. (2013). The disempowered development of Tibet in China: A study in the economics of marginalization. Lexington Books.

Regmi, M. C. (1988). An economic history of Nepal, 1846-1901. Varanasi: Nath Publishing House. 

Shakya, S. (2013). Unleashing Nepal. Penguin UK. (*) 

Singh, R. B., & Hietala, R. (Eds.). (2014).  Livelihood Security in Northwestern Himalaya: Case Studies from Changing Socio-economic Environments in Himachal Pradesh, India. Springer Science & Business. 


Bhatta, P. (Ed.). (2009). Education in Nepal: Problems, reforms and social change. Martin Chautari. (*)

Bass, C. (1998). Education in Tibet: Policy and practice since 1950. Zed books. (*)


Carrin, Marine, Pralay Kanungo, and Gérard Toffin. (2014) The Politics of Ethnicity in India, Nepal and China. Primius Books. (*)

Gellner, D. N., Pfaff-Czarnecka, J., & Whelpton, J. (1997).  Nationalism and ethnicity in a Hindu kingdom: The politics of culture in contemporary Nepal. Routledge.

Lawoti, M., & Hangen, S. (2013).  Nationalism and ethnic conflict in Nepal: Identities and mobilization after 1990. Routledge.

Scherrer-Schaub, P. M. C., & Krasser, H. (2014). Cultural Flows across the Western Himalaya. Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. 

Shneiderman, S. (2015). Rituals of Ethnicity. University of Pennsylvania Press. (UBC Faculty Publication)


Guneratne, A. (Ed.). (2009).  Culture and the Environment in the Himalaya. Routledge. 

Rangan, H. (2000). Of myths and movements: Rewriting Chipko into Himalayan history. Verso. 

Thompson, M., Warburton, M., & Hatley, T. (1986). Uncertainty on a Himalayan scale: An institutional theory of environmental perception and a strategic framework for the sustainable development of the Himalaya. London: Milton Ash Editions/Ethnographica. 

World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia. (2016). Nepal Earthquake 2015: an insight into risks - a vision for reslience.


Childs, G. H. (2004). Tibetan diary: from birth to death and beyond in a Himalayan valley of Nepal. Univ of California Press.

Liechty, M. (2003). Suitably modern: Making middle-class culture in a new consumer society. Princeton University Press. 

McHugh, E. (2011). Love and honor in the Himalayas: Coming to know another culture. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Ortner, S. B. (1989). High religion: A cultural and political history of Sherpa Buddhism. Princeton University Press.


Dhital, M. R. (2015). Geology of the Nepal Himalaya: Regional Perspective of the Classic Collided Orogen. Springer. 

Zurick, D., Karan, P. P., & Pacheco, J. (1999).  Himalaya: Life on the Edge of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 

Zurick, D., Pacheco, J., Shrestha, B. R., & Bajracharya, B. (2006). Illustrated atlas of the Himalaya. India Research Press. 

Health & Well-Being 

Desjarlais, R. R. (1992). Body and emotion: The aesthetics of illness and healing in the Nepal Himalayas. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Harper, I. (2014). Development and public health in the Himalaya: reflections on healing in contemporary Nepal. Routledge. 

Sax, W. S. (2009). God of justice: Ritual healing and social justice in the central Himalayas. Oxford University Press. 

Craig, S. R. (2012). Healing elements: efficacy and the social ecologies of Tibetan medicine. Univ of California Press.


Goldstein, M. C. (1997). The snow lion and the dragon: China, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama. Univ of California Press.

Mullard, S. (2011). Opening the Hidden Land: State Formation and the Construction of Sikkimese History. Brill.

Phuntsho, K. (2013). The history of Bhutan. Random House India. 

Shakya, T. (1999). The dragon in the land of snows: A history of modern Tibet since 1947. Columbia University Press.  (UBC Faculty Publication)

Snellgrove, D. & Richardson, H. (1980). A cultural history of Tibet. Boulder, Colorado : Prajñā Press.

Whelpton, J. (2005). A history of Nepal. Cambridge University Press.


Hutt, M. (1988). Nepali, a national language and its literature. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers.

Turin, M. (2012). Languages of the Greater Himalayan Region, Volume 6: A Grammar of the Thangmi Language (2 vols): With an Ethnolinguistic Introduction to the Speakers and Their Culture. Brill. (UBC Faculty Publication)

Van Driem, G. (2001). Languages of the Himalayas: an ethnolinguistic handbook of the greater Himalayan region. Brill

Politics & State

Dixit, K. M., & Ramachandran, S. (Eds.). (2002). State of Nepal. Lalitpur: Himal Books.

Hofer, A. (1979). The history of the Muluki Ain: The caste hierarchy and the state in Nepal: A study of the Muluki Ain of 1854. Innsbruck, Austria: Universitatsverlag Wanger. (*)

Joshi, B. L., & Rose, L. E. (1966). Democratic innovations in Nepal: a case study of political acculturation (p. 55). Berkeley: University of California Press. 

Lawoti, M. (Ed.). (2007). Contentious politics and democratization in Nepal. SAGE Publications India. (*) 

Pfaff-Czarnecka, J., & Toffin, G. (Eds.). (2011). The politics of belonging in the Himalayas: Local attachments and boundary dynamics. SAGE Publications India. 

Mathur, N. (2016). Paper tiger: Law, bureaucracy and the developmental state in Himalayan India. Cambridge University Press.


Berreman, G. D. (1963).  Hindus of the Himalayas. Univ of California Press. 

Gellner, D. N. (2001).  The anthropology of Buddhism and Hinduism: Weberian themes. Oxford University Press. 

Sijapati, M. A., & Birkenholtz, J. V. (Eds.). (2016). Religion and Modernity in the Himalaya. Routledge. 

Sax, W. S. (1991).  Mountain goddess: gender and politics in a Himalayan pilgrimage. New York: Oxford University Press. 

Snellgrove, D. L. (1961).  Himalayan Pilgrimage. A Study of Tibetan Religion by a Traveller Through Western Nepal. Bruno Cassirer.


Muzzini, E., & Aparicio, G. (2013). Urban Growth and Spatial Transition in Nepal: An Initial Assessment. World Bank Publications.

Rademacher, A. (2011).  Reigning the river: urban ecologies and political transformation in Kathmandu. Durham, UK: Duke University Press. 

Guide to finding books on the Himalayan region in the UBC Library

To browse books on culture, history, religion, and society of the Himalayas, look under the call number DS401-486.6 (Library of Congress Classification outline)

To browse books on the culture and history of Nepal, look under the call number DS493-495.8.

To browse books on the culture and history of Bhutan, look under the call number DS491-492.9.

Most books on Nepal, Bhutan, the Indian Himalayas, and the Tibetan cultural region are held at Koerner Library, however, some can also be found under other categories. Books on art and media of the Himalayan region are held at the Iriving K. Barber Learning Centre

Search the UBC Library Catalogue