Buddhism and the Role of Gender in Sikkim

Cultural and Religious Perspectives on Current Challenges in the Himalayas. Postdoctoral Project.

Since June, 2020

Once a prophesied sacred Buddhist land in the Himalayas, then a Buddhist kingdom and eventually an Indian state – historically, Sikkim has seen not only political but also religious changes, influences, and modifications. Even more, recent developments such as climate change, dam building activities and border issues are changing people’s lives in many ways.

Religion takes a central place in society. At various points in time a synthesis and coexistence of the different belief systems emerged, which can be considered a form of resilience. But what role does gender play in all of these developments?

Based on an analysis of primary sources, this study examines the role of gender from social norms and religious contexts in a Himalayan Buddhist ambience, taking into account historical and recent developments.

  • 04/2021: Buddhism and Gender Perspectives in Sikkim: Historical and Contemporary Approaches, online talk for the Tibetan Graduate Studies Seminar, Oxford University.
  • 02/2021: Religious Challenges among Buddhist communities in Sikkim (North India), Utrecht University, online conference “Religious Transformation and Gender: Contestations in/and the Study of Relgion, Gender and Sexuality”.
  • 08/2020: Remarkable Buddhist Nuns in Sikkim, Heidelberg Universität, online workshop “Female Religious Leaders and Dynamics of Female Agency in Religious Settings in South Asia”.
  • 2024: Against Marginality, Inequality, and Dependency: Remarkable Buddhist Nuns in Sikkim, in Gendered Agency in Transcultural Hinduism and Buddhism, ed. by Ute Hüsken, Agi Wittich and Nanette R. Spina. Routledge, pp. 204-219, DOI 10.4324/9781003438823-11.