From a high Himalayan kingdom to the streets of Brooklyn and Queens, The Ends of Kinship explores dynamics of migration and social change, asking how individuals, families, and communities care for each other and carve out spaces of belonging in the midst of rapid social, economic, and environmental change. Drawing on more than two decades of fieldwork with people in and from Mustang, Nepal, this book combines narrative ethnography and short fiction to engage with foundational questions in cultural anthropology: How do different generations abide with and understand each other? How are traditions defended and transformed in the context of new mobilities?
Against the grain of glossy, idealized images of Tibetan and Himalayan lifeworlds, Mustang in Black and White illuminates the quotidian beauty and cultural complexity of this region. Kevin Bubriski’s masterful black-and-white portraits of this place and its people are coupled with Sienna Craig’s thick descriptions of what is, and is not, seen through the eye of the camera. Part photo essay, part meditation on social and environmental change and continuity, Mustang in Black and White is a work of artistic collaboration between Bubriski and Craig that also includes essays by scholars Niels Gutschow and Charles Ramble.
Tibetan medicine has come to represent multiple and sometimes conflicting agendas. On the one hand it must retain a sense of cultural authenticity and a connection to Tibetan Buddhism; on the other it must prove efficacious and safe according to biomedical standards. Healing Elementsexplores how Tibetan medicine circulates through diverse settings in Nepal, China, and beyond as commercial goods and gifts, and as targeted therapies and panacea for biophysical and psychosocial ills. Through an exploration of efficacy – what does it mean to say Tibetan medicine “works”? – this book illustrates a biopolitics of traditional medicine and the meaningful, if contested, translations of science and healing that occur across distinct social ecologies.
At nineteen, Sienna Craig made her first trip to Mustang, Nepal. As an equestrian and a student of religion and anthropology, she sought not only to understand what it was like to rely on horses to navigate through the windswept valleys and plains of high Asia, but also to grasp how horses lent meaning to the lives of people from Mustang. Through living and working with local Tibetan doctors, veterinarians, and other horse experts, as well as the friendships she formed, Sienna began to understand the region’s history, and to witness the ways Mustang was being transformed in the face of tremendous social, political, and economic shifts. Horses Like Lightningis an exploration of what it means to balance tradition and modernity and to engage in cross-cultural learning as part of coming of age and considering one’s place in the world.
Clear Sky, Red Earth: A Himalayan Storytells of life in the remote Himalayan regions of Dolpo and Mustang, on Nepal’s border with Tibet. The tale follows the life of Namsel Wangmo, a young girl who grows up to become a great painter. The story of Namsel was created through conversation and collaboration between Sienna Craig and Dolpo artist Tenzin Norbu. Although fictional, this tale emerges from the true biography of a woman who lived in Dolpo centuries ago, and Tenzin Norbu’s own experiences of becoming an artist. It is a story of courage and adventure, a fairytale of risks taken and dreams realized.
There is a growing interest in studies that document the relationship between science and medicine – as ideas, practices, technologies and outcomes – across cultural, national, geographic terrain. Medicine between Science and Religion: Explorations on Tibetan Grounds, edited by Vincanne Adams, Mona Schrempf, and Sienna Craig, presents a comprehensive picture of the impacts of western science and biomedicine on Tibetan medicine and healing practices, and the ways local practices change how science gets done in these contexts as well as how this continually hybridized medical knowledge is transmitted and put into practice, across locations that stretch from Nepal and India to China, Mongolia, and Buryatia.