Aftershocked: Reflections on the 2015 Earthquakes in Nepal

Beginning at 11:56 a.m. local time on April 25, 2015 and continuing for over two months, a series of large earthquakes and significant aftershocks, numbering more than three hundred, plagued Nepal. The earthquakes destroyed homes, historical monuments, and infrastructure, and they triggered an ongoing series of landslides, exacerbated by the monsoon. In the days and weeks following the initial earthquake, many experts on Nepal began to discuss the underlying issues that made these earthquakes as much a human-made disaster as a natural one. Our discussions evolved into a larger investigation of the role of academia in a time of crisis. Much of what is often lost in the rush to rebuild is nuance and historical context, an understanding of the particularities of place in the form of reflections on the past and its implications for the future. Anthropologists working in sites of disaster have contributed much to thinking about the aftermath of reconstruction, but they are often included in the discussion only when the urgency has passed. The essays we present here are an attempt to begin the conversation early—to introduce issues of inequality, regionalism, class, local control, the environment, and diversity even as the dust is still settling—rather than merely as a posthoc critique.

Posts in This Series

Introduction: Aftershocked

Langtang

The Question of Locality in Rupture

Can Nepal’s Youth Build Back Better and Differently?

The Photographed Gift: Participation, Relief Efforts, and Social Media

Heritage, Continuity, and Nostalgia

Digging for Dalit: Social Justice and an Inclusive Anthropology of Nepal

Tamsaling and the Toll of the Gorkha Earthquake

“We Need an Even Bigger One”: Disasters of Inequality in Postquake Kathmandu Valley

The Damage Done and the Dams to Come

Mental Health after the Earthquake: Building Nepal’s Mental Health System in Times of Emergency

Situating the Earthquake in the Politics of Feudal Bureaucracy

Dots on the Map: Anthropological Locations and Responses to Nepal’s Earthquakes