I research primarily questions of sovereignty, territory, power/violence, nationalism, (im)mobilites, and placemaking. I am interested in understanding how certain populations are rendered powerless through state mechanisms, and in the ways in which the powerless navigate, counteract, and resist the dispossession of their bodies, land, and memory. I engage with visual methodologies (photography and film) that create possibilities for different ways of seeing and knowing about (being in) the world.
My dissertation research examines how Chinese extra-territorial sovereignty in Nepal produces new modes of Tibetan refugee subjectivities. Despite attempts by Nepal and China to restrict Tibetan engagement in political life, I investigate how Tibetans negotiate policing and surveillance through everyday mobilities, circumambulation, place making, and memory. In Boudha, the Nepali state has politicized everyday Tibetan practices that has intensified ethnic contestations over place making for Tibetans in Boudha. The primary questions for this dissertation ask: (1) How do the seemingly banal, everyday, and gendered practices of Tibetan nationalism and place making in Boudha reveal the messy intricacies of Chinese extra-territorial politics of development in Nepal? (2) How does Chinese extra-territorial sovereignty and Nepali ethnic nationalism produce Tibetan refugee subjectivities? (3) How does place based identity politics and Nepali ethnic nationalism produce contestations over Boudha between Tibetan refugees and members of other ethnic groups?
Here are a few updates on awards Rupak recently received:
(1) AAG Asian Geography Specialty Group Graduate Student Paper Award (Runners Up), March 2017. Paper Title: "Gendered Geopolitics of the Everyday: Tibetan Nationalism, Placemaking, and Memory under Extraterritorial Sovereignty in Nepal"
(2) Jennifer Dinaburg Memorial Research Fellowship Award, April 2016
(3) James A. and Jeanne B. DeSana Graduate Research Scholarship, April 2016
(4) Ragaei El Mallakh Memorial Scholarship, February 2016