Ethnography, reappropriation of esoteric ritual practices, state rituals, public culture, political systems, Buddhism as geostrategic leverage, migration, development, Buddhist economy

2022: Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of Developing Economies-Japanese External Trade Organisation

2021: Research Officer (Casual), The Australian National University

2021: Research Assistant, University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra

2017-2021: PhD Anthropology, The Australian National University

2015-2016: Master of International Development, University of Canberra

2010-2014: Research Officer, Centre for Bhutan and GNH Studies

Dendup Chophel has received a PhD in anthropology from the Australian National University, becoming one of the few Bhutanese to receive a Ph.D. in anthropology. He studied the processes and impact of Buddhist gentrification in displacing localised ritual practices in historically marginal communities in rural Bhutan. At the Center for Advance Studies-Erlangen, he will study elderly female mediums (rnal-‘byor-ma, Yogini and/or bsnyen-jo-mo, ‘Invocation-Lady’) in Ketokha and Bongo villages of Bhutan, and their often asymmetrical relation with institutionalised Buddhism. On a Visiting Research Fellowship at the Institute of Developing Economies-JETRO in Japan, he has explored the fundamental ways in which Buddhism counterintuitively valorises and promotes economic productivity and material prosperity in Bhutanese communities. He is an Associated Researcher at the Institute of Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences.

  1. T. Maxwell and D. Chophel. The impact and outcomes of (non-education) doctorates: the case of an emerging Bhutan. Higher Education,80:1081-1102
  2. T. Jamtsho, D. Chophel and S. Thinley. Visions, Prophecies and Leadership: Oral Accounts of the Life and Death of Terton Drukdra Dorji. In Journal of Bhutan Studies, 31 (Winter): 22-42.
  3. D. Chophel and D. Khandu. Byis pa’i dpa’ bo: The Dance of Youthful Heroes. In Bhutanese Buddhism and its Culture. S. Kumagai (ed.). Kathmandu, Nepal: Vajra Books. pp. 207-220.
  4. D.K. Ura and D. Chophel (Eds.). Buddhism Without Borders: Proceedings of the International Conference on Globalized Buddhism. Thimphu, Bhutan: Centre for Bhutan Studies.

Research Project at CAS-E