Dr Andrea Butcher


Associate Lecturer (Anthropology)

I take an interdisciplinary approach to academia, with a background that covers anthropology, international politics and development studies, religious studies, and more recently, human/non-human animal relationships. My research interests include: Himalayan anthropology, anthropology of development, sustainability and conservation; nature and climate ontologies, and narratives of climate change; sacred landscapes; conventional and socially-engaged Buddhist practice; the durability of magic and ritual ceremony in contemporary democracies; disaster studies; wellbeing, performance, identity and morality.

My doctoral thesis examines the impact of state and civil society-delivered development programmes upon Tibetan Buddhist practice in Ladakh, North-West India. It focuses upon social and institutional attempts to integrate new forms of material and sustainable development, democratic government, and contemporary economics according to the doctrinal and ethical principles of religious governance, and the impact this has upon pre-existing ritual and ceremonial performances. The research contributes to an anthropology of development by discussing the ways that religious and ethical traditions influence the choices a society makes about development and its purposes. It also contributes to anthropological discussions of climate, conservation, and disaster by examining local narratives and vernacular registers of increasing climate instability, associated impacts, and the perceived causes. 

I am an associate fellow of the Higher Education Authority.

I am a member of the Royal Anthropological Institute, the European Association of Social Anthropologists, and the Association of Nepal and Himalayan Studies. I am also involved in the EASA Disaster and Crisis Anthropology Network (DICAN).  I am treasurer and membership secretary for the International Association for Ladakh Studies.

I have recently co-edited and contributed to a special edition of the Tibet Journal. The special edition is a collection of social scientific and humanities papers documenting recent research in Ladakh, North-West India.