Office Hours: tuesdays and thursdays 12-2, scct atrium

CHRIS VASANTKUMAR                           cvasantk (at) hamilton (dot) edu                           (CV)


MA, PhD, UC Berkeley, 1998, 2006 (Sociocultural Anthropology)
AB, Princeton, 1996 (Religious Studies and Creative Writing)


I am an anthropologist of trans/national Chinese-ness in its manifold permutations. Since 2002 I have conducted research in multi-ethnic, historically Tibetan areas of Gansu province, northwest China and with Tibetan migrants and refugees in Himachal Pradesh, north India. I have special expertise in the study of race and ethnicity, the anthropology of movement and mobilities, the history of anthropological theory and the anthropology of money.  My current research interests include number and numeracy, the politics of time, metrology and the study of measurement, standards and processes of standardization, and non-euclidean topologies of difference and belonging.  I would describe my theoretical orientation as skeptical on good days and misosophical on bad ones.  Some of the scholars and thinkers whose work I have found especially generative are Franz Boas, Dipesh Chakrabarty, James Clifford, Pamela Crossley, Frantz Fanon, Robert J. Foster, Maurice Freedman, Emily Gilbert, Max Gluckman, Jane Guyer, Stuart Hall, Donna Haraway, Stevan Harrell, Keith Hart, John Hartigan, Jr., Tim Ingold, John Law, Annemarie Mol, Donald S. Moore, Diane Nelson, Aihwa Ong, Allan Pred, David Schneider, Anna Tsing and Raymond Williams. At Hamilton, I teach classes on (among other things) the politics of difference, China and Tibet, and science, technology and the limits of the human.  My non-academic interests include baseball, the English premier league, poetry, travel, music (mostly power pop and honky tonk these days), spicy food, and politics. I have a somewhat haunted dog, the tallest five-year old in America and his extraordinarily large 20 month old sidekick.  Though I was born and raised on the east coast, I think of myself as a naturalized Californian. I am 6'8" tall (2.05 meters for our metric friends). Don't ask me if I play basketball.


2014     “Dream World, ‘Shambala,’ Gannan: The Shangrilazation of China’s ‘Little Tibet.’” In Emily T. Yeh and Chris Coggins, eds., Mapping Shangrila: Contested Landscapes in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands. University of Washington Press. In Press.

2014     “Unmade in China: Reassembling the Ethnic on the Gansu-Tibetan Border.” Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 79(2): 261-286.

2013     “The Scale of Scatter: Rethinking Social Topologies via the Anthropology of ‘Residual China.’” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 31(5): 918-934. PDF Version Here. Authoritative final version of record at EP-D website.

2013     “Tibetan Peregri-nations: Mobility, Incommensurable Nationalisms and (Un)belonging Athwart the Himalayas.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 39(2): 219-236. PDF of Preprint Version Here. Authoritative final version of record can be found on JEMS website.

2012     "What is this 'Chinese' in Overseas Chinese? Sojourn Work and the Place of China's Minority Nationalities in Extraterritorial Chinese-ness." The Journal of Asian Studies 71(2): 423-446. Access PDF here. © The Association for Asian Studies, Inc., 2012.

2012     "Han at Minzu's Edges: What Critical Han Studies Can Learn from China's 'Little Tibet." In Thomas S. Mullaney, James Leibold, Stephane Gros and Eric Vanden Bussche, eds., Critical Han Studies. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Pp. 234-256.

2009     "Domestic Tourism and Its Discontents: Han Tourism in China's 'Little Tibet.'" in Shalini Singh, ed. Domestic Tourism in Asia: Diversity and Divergence. London: Earthscan Publishing, Ltd. Pp. 129-150.

2009     "Tibet as Incidental to Tibetan Studies? Views from Various Margins." In Brandon Dotson, Kalsang Norbu Gurung, Giorgios Halkias and Tim Myatt, eds., Contemporary Visions in Tibetan Studies. Chicago: Serindia Publications. Pp. 1-13.