Dissertation

Committee Members: Jeff Harden (co-chair), Jaimie Bleck (co-chair), Karrie Koesel, Guillermo Trejo

My dissertation investigates the politics of disasters. I use mixed methods and a subnational, comparative design in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal to ask 1.) how and why the reconstruction process varies among communities and 2.) how the reconstruction process affects political behavior. I compare post-earthquake reconstruction in three urban centers – Kathmandu, Lalitpur (Patan), and Bhaktapur – across two large natural events – the 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake and the 2015 Gorkha earthquake. This project contributes to literatures in comparative politics, the political economy of public goods provision, post-disaster governance, and state-society relations.

Due to worldwide restrictions, I am currently working on the historical component of my project. In the years from 2018-2020, I completed six months of fieldwork and language-training for my project with funding from the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies. The project has been recognized by the Boren Fellowship and the J. William Fulbright U.S. Student Program Fellowship, which are currently delayed due to the worldwide pandemic. I will be an NDIAS scholar in the 2021-2022 academic year.

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Photos taken during fieldwork in February 2020