Social Science Baha

Lecture Series

The Holy Mountains of Nepal

Damien Francois
Lecture Series LXXXII
March 23, 2015

Damien Francois
The Holy Mountains of Nepal

This lecture is based on the book The Holy Mountains of Nepal  (Vajra Books, 2014), perhaps the only one dedicated to the many mountains revered by the people of Nepal. The lecture will juxtapose the views of the local populations that live among the mountains—such as the Sherpa, the Gurung, the Limbu, and the Bhotia, among others—with those of foreign visitors in an attempt to question some of the false clichés, particularly in the West, about the mountains, the gods, and, especially, Tibetan Buddhism. Besides introducing the multi-faceted meanings these mountains have for the people who live in their shadows, the lecture will also demystify high-altitude mountaineering to reveal that for many climbers, it is not only a sport or a hobby but also a mystical experience.

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 Listen to or download lecture in audio format


Author, cultural anthropologist and avid trekker/climber from Belgium, Damien Francois has made a career out of merging his academic training and passion for travelling and trekking. He received his PhD from the University of RWTH Aachen in Germany in 1999 and has taught at various universities and a film college throughout Germany. His travels have led him to various parts of the globe, including Nepal and several Himalayan expeditions to Mount Everest, Manaslu, Ama Dablam, Kang Guru and Ganesh I.

Besides his book The Holy Mountains of Nepal, Dr Francois has written numerous articles for the French journal, Religions et Histoire as well as authored books such as Cocteau et Radiguet (1992), L’Immediatete, Anthropologie culturelle critique (2000), and The Self-Destruction of the West: Critical Cultural Anthropology (2007) (co-authored). His upcoming publications are Shiva, God of the Gods (ed) and an article on what makes humans human, ‘The Humanimal’. He is also working on a book on the spring 2014 tragedy on Everest.

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