Galen Murton

Visiting Scholar

Galen Murton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrated Science and Technology at James Madison University with teaching responsibilities in the Geographic Sciences Program. He completed his PhD in the Department of Geography at the University of Colorado Boulder (2017) with a dissertation that examines the social and geopolitical impacts of infrastructure projects in High Asia with a close focus on road developments between China and Nepal.

CV

Education

2017
PhD, Geography, University of Colorado Boulder
Dissertation: Border Corridors: Roads, Trade, Aid and the Geopolitics of State-making between Nepal and China. Committee: Emily Yeh (Chair), John O’Loughlin, Tim Oakes, Joe Bryan, Tina Harris
2011
MALD, International Relations, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
Thesis: The Himalaya Complex: Roads and Conflict in High Asia Committee: Andrew Hess (Chair), Eileen Babbitt, John Curtis Perry, Alan Henrikson
2000
BA, Religion, Middlebury College
Thesis: Chakrasamvara Tradition: Pilgrimage, Landscape, and Tantra in India and Tibet Advisor: William Waldron

Grants and Fellowships

2017
Marie S Curie Action Individual Fellowship (MSCA-IF-2016) (€171,460) European Commission Horizon 2020 Framework Programme
2016
Summer Dissertation Writing Fellowship ($6000) Graduate School, University of Colorado Boulder
2014
Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad ($20,108)
US Department of Education
2014
International Dissertation Research Fellowship ($20,000)
Andrew Mellon Foundation, Social Science Research Council
2014
Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (Chinese) ($7,500) Center for Asian Studies, University of Colorado Boulder
2013
Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (Hindi) ($33,000)
Center for Asian Studies, University of Colorado Boulder
2013
Kathryn W. Davis Fellowship for Peace ($10,000 declined)
Middlebury College Chinese Language School
2009-11
Bosworth/Board of Overseers Fellowship ($45,000)
The Fletcher School, Tufts University

Service and Extracurricular Activities

2015-present
Co-founder/Co-director, Rasuwa Relief volunteer humanitarian aid organization 2015-present
2015-present
Coordinating Member, Nepal Research Collective
2014-present
Executive Council Member, Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies
2012-present
Co-director/Co-founder, Tibetan-Himalayan Studies Working Group, CU-Boulder
October 2014
Volunteer, Tsadra Foundation Translation and Transmission Conference
2010-2011
Director, Southwest-Central Asia-Caucasus Forum, The Fletcher School
2005-present
Wilderness First Responder (WFR), former Wilderness Emergency Technician
1997-2000
Guide, Middlebury Mountain Club, Middlebury College

Speaking

Invited Lectures

Apr 2017
“Infrastructure, Earthquakes, and Locating Nubri in 21st Century Asia”. Guest Lecture – Nepal Studies Program. Colorado College: Colorado Springs, CO, USA; Apr 24.
Feb 2016
“Relief and Reconstruction in Post-earthquake Nepal”. Keynote Speaker - GlobeMed Benefit Brunch. Louisville, CO, USA; Feb 11.
Apr 2016
“After the Earthquake: Politics and Development in Nepal”. Guest Speaker - GlobeMed Spring Lecture. University of Colorado: Boulder, CO, USA; Apr 21.
Feb 2016
“Tibet: Rights, Reality, and the Law” Invited Panelist – Tibet Today. Korbel School/Sturm School of Law, University of Denver: Denver, CO, USA; Feb 17.
Apr 2015
“Opening the Kyirong-Rasuwa Highway: Connecting Natural Disasters, Crisis Management, and Border Politics between China and Nepal”. Guest Lecturer - International Affairs (3rd Semester). Tribhuvan University Institute for Crisis Management Studies (TUICMS): Kathmandu, Nepal; Apr 6.
Mar 2015
“What’s up with Mustang? Transport, Trade, and Foreign Aid in the Tibet-Nepal Borderlands”. Guest Lecturer - Tibetan Studies Program. School for International Training (SIT): Kathmandu, Nepal; Mar 17.
Feb 2015
“Why Are All These Tibetans in Kathmandu?” Guest Lecturer - Tibetan Studies Program, Himalayan Crossroads: Kathmandu, Nepal; Feb 19.

Conference Panel Organization

Sep 2017
“Roads, Spatial Histories, and Politics of Practice in the Himalaya-Karakoram-Hindu-Kush”. 5th Himalayan Studies Conference. University of Colorado Boulder, CO USA. Sep 1-4.

“Infrastructures, Risk, and Vulnerabilities in the Trans-Himalaya”. 5th Himalayan Studies Conference. University of Colorado Boulder, CO USA. Sep 1-4.

Apr 2017
“Geographies of Nepal: Development, Politics, and Ecologies across Himalayan Landscapes”. Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. Boston, MA USA. Apr 7.
Dec 2016
“Borderland Roads: Pathways and Passages”. 5th Conference of the Asian Borderlands Research Network. Kathmandu, Nepal; Dec 12.
Oct 2016
“Mobility and Containment: Examining the Everyday Experiences of Rural Road Development in South Asia”. Annual Conference on South Asia. Madison, WI USA; Oct. 20-22.
Mar 2016
“Changing Landscapes in China’s Border Regions”. Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. San Francisco, CA USA; March 29.
Feb 2016
“Nepal Earthquake Conversations: Geopolitics, Humanitarianism, Ethics and Representation”. 4th Himalayan Studies Conference. University of Texas, Austin USA; Feb 26.
Nov 2015
“The Expediency of Roads”. 114th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Denver, CO USA; Nov 21.
Oct 2015
“The Social Politics of Identity, Mobility, and Development in 21st century Nepal”. Annual Conference on South Asia. Madison, WI USA; Oct 23.
Mar 2015
“Making the Minority Major: The Intersection of Ethnic Identity and Infrastructure Development in Western China”. Annual Conference of the Association for Asian Studies. Chicago, IL USA; Mar 29.
Oct 2014
“Interrogating Infrastructure 2.0”. Annual Conference on South Asia. Madison, WI, USA; Oct 18.
Apr 2014
“Development and Space at China’s Frontiers I-III”. Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. Tampa, FL, USA; Apr 11.

“Critical Himalaya: International Development, Politics, and Investment in High Asia”. Annual Meeting of the American Association Geographers. Tampa, FL, USA; Apr 9.

Mar 2014
“Conservation Policies, Social Ecologies, and Community Practices in Bhutan”. 3rd Himalayan Studies Conference Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA; Mar 16.

Conference Presentations

Sep 2017
“Border Roads, Uneven Mobilities, and State Formation in Nepal”. 5th Himalayan Studies Conference. University of Colorado Boulder, CO USA. Sep 1-4 (upcoming)
Jun 2017
“Disrupting Disaster Capitalism: Everyday Experiences at the Scholar-Practitioner Interface in Post-Earthquake Nepal”. Conference of the Asian Dynamics Initiative. University of Copenhagen Denmark; Jun 26-18 (upcoming).
Apr 2017
Panelist: “Geographies of Infrastructure, State-Making, and Political Subjectivity”. Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. Boston, MA USA; Apr 5.
Apr 2017
“Making Mountain Places into State Spaces: Infrastructure, Consumption, and Territorial Practice in a Himalayan Borderland”. Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. Boston, MA USA; Apr 5.

“Becoming Rasuwa Relief: Working at the Scholar-Practitioner Interface in Post-Earthquake Nepal”. Development Geography Pre-Conference. Clark University, Worcester, MA USA; Apr 4.

“’A Handshake Across the Himalayas:’ Chinese Investment, Hydropower Development, and State Formation in Nepal in Nepal”. Political Geography Pre-Conference. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA USA; Apr 3.

Dec 2016
“Nobody Stops and Stays Anymore: Motor Roads, Uneven Mobilities, and Conceptualizing Borderland Modernity in Highland Nepal”. 5th Conference of the Asian Borderlands Research Network. Kathmandu, Nepal; Dec 12.
Oct 2016
“What’s Down that Road? Development, Commerce, and Cultural Politics in the Nepal-China Borderlands”. Annual Conference on South Asia. Madison, WI USA; Oct. 21.

“’A Handshake Across the Himalayas:’ Chinese Investment, Hydropower Development, and State Formation in Nepal in Nepal”. 4th Conference on Development Sociology, Cornell University; Oct 7.

Mar 2016
“Bordering Spaces, Practicing Borders: Roads, Commerce, and the Transformation of Trans-Himalayan Landscapes”. Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. San Francisco, CA USA; Mar 29.

“China’s New Silk Road Project,” Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. San Francisco, CA USA; Mar 29.

Fev 2016
“Negotiating New Himalayan Landscapes: The Intersection of Community-based Development, State-led Programming, and NGO Interventions in Nepal”. 4th Himalayan Studies Conference. University of Texas, Austin USA; Feb 26.
Nov 2015
“Corridors or Culs de Sac: The Social Politics of Mobility and Geopolitics of Roads between China and Nepal”. Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Denver, CO USA; Nov 21.

“Continued Conversations about Anthropological Engagement and the Nepal Earthquake”. Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Denver, CO USA; Nov 20.

Oct 2015
“The Earthquake in Nepal: Disciplinary Perspectives,” Annual Conference on South Asia. Madison, WI USA; Oct 23.

“Border Business: Roads, Consumption, and State Formation in Mustang, Nepal”. Annual Conference on South Asia. Madison, WI USA; Oct 23.

Mar 2015
“Constructing the New Tibet: Representations of Culture and Power in Tibet’s Modern Infrastructure”. Annual Conference of the Association for Asian Studies. Chicago, IL USA; Mar 29.
Dec 2014
“Making Markets, Transforming Trade, and Cultivating Consumers”. 4th Conference of the Asian Borderlands Research Network, City University of Hong Kong; Dec 10.

“Trans-Himalayan Transformations: Building Roads, Making Markets, and Cultivating Consumption between Nepal and Tibet”. Workshop on Roadology; University of Chongqing, China; Dec 4.

Oct 2014
“Cultivating Consumption: The Cultural Politics of Trans-border Road Development in Mustang, Nepal”. Annual Conference on South Asia; Madison, WI, USA; Oct 18.
Apr 2014
“Development with Chinese Characteristics: The Geopolitics and Socio-cultural Effects of Chinese Road Development in Nepal”. The Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers; Tampa, FL, USA; Apr 11.

“Natural Resource Use and Infrastructure Development in Inner Asia”. The Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers; Tampa, FL, USA; Apr 9.

Mar 2014
“Streets Through the Hills: Mobilities, Modernities, and Material Transformations in Mustang, Nepal”. 3rd Himalayan Studies Conference. Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA; Mar 14.
Apr 2013
“Himalayan Highways: Roads of Change”. Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers; Los Angeles, CA, USA; April 9.

“Landscape and Policy Transition in Inner Asia”. Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Apr 9.

Feb 2012
“The Himalaya Complex: Roads and Conflict in High Asia”. Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, New York, NY, USA; Feb 28.

Campus/Departmental Talks

Jul 2016
“Natural Hazards and Nepal: The Earthquake and its Aftermath”. Guest Lecture – Natural Hazards, Department of Geography, University of Colorado: Boulder, CO; Jul 28.
Apr 2016
“Nepal: Landscapes of Disaster”. Guest Lecture – Geography of South Asia, Department of Geography, University of Colorado: Boulder, CO; Apr 20.
Jul 2014
“Himalayan Landscapes”. Guest Lecture – Mountain Geography: Department of Geography, University of Colorado: Boulder, CO; Jul 30.
Jun 2014
“Himalayan Agriculture and Livelihoods”. Guest Lecture – World Regional Geography: Department of Geography, University of Colorado: Boulder, CO; Jun 28.
May 2014
“Himalayan Landscapes”. Guest Lecture – Mountain Geography: Department of Geography, University of Colorado: Boulder, CO; May 28.

Publications

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

2017
“Bordering Spaces, Practising Borders: Infrastructure, Commerce, and State Institutionalization across the Nepal-China Borderlands”. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 40 (April). DOI: 10.1080/00856401.2017.1292616

“Making Mountain Places into State Spaces: Infrastructure, Consumption, and Territorial Practice in a Himalayan Borderland”. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 107(2): 526-545. DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2016.1232616

2016
“‘A Handshake across the Himalayas’: Chinese Investment, Hydropower Development, and State Formation in Nepal”. by Murton, G., A. Lord and B. Beazley, Eurasian Geography and Economics, 57(3) (October): 403-432. DOI: 10.1080/15387216.2016.1236349
2013
“Himalayan Highways: STS, the Spatial Fix, and Socio-Cultural Shifts in the Land of Zomia”. Perspectives on Global Development and Technology, Vol. 12(5-6) (December).

Peer-reviewed Book Chapters

2016
“Trans-Himalayan Transformations: Building Roads, Making Markets, and Cultivating Consumption between Nepal and China”. Roadology: Roads, Space, and Culture《路学:道路、空间与文化》. Chongqing: Chongqing University Press, 328-340.

Research Reports

2016
“(Re)Building the State: Border Infrastructure, Chinese Development, and the Politics of Aid in Post-Earthquake Nepal”. Natural Hazards Center Report #QR 259. University of Colorado Boulder. https://hazards.colorado.edu/quickreport/re-building-the-state

Book Reviews

2016
Book Review: Rieber, Alfred. 2014. The Struggle for the Eurasian Borderlands. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. In Inner Asia, 18(1): 173-175. DOI: 10.1163/22105018-12340061
2015
Book Review: Gohain, Swargajyoti. 2013. Imagined Places: Politics and Narratives in a Disputed Indo-Tibetan Borderland. PhD thesis, Atlanta, GA: Emory University. In Online Dissertation Reviews, Spring 2015. http://dissertationreviews.org/archives/11717

Book Review: Fischer, Andrew M. 2014. The Disempowered Development of Tibet in China. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. In Contemporary South Asia 23(1), Winter 2015. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09584935.2014.1001126

2014
Book Review: Bauer, Kenneth, Childs, Geoff, Craig, Sienna, and Andrew Fischer. 2012. Development Transitions: Land, Labor, and Social Policy in Tibet. Kathmandu: Himal Books. In: Journal of Peasant Studies, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03066150.2014.912430

Book Review” Harris, Tina. 2013. Geographical Diversions. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press. In HIMALAYA: The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 34(1). http://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/himalaya/vol34/iss1/25

Conference Reviews

2016
“2015 Annual Conference of the American Anthropological Association”. HIMALAYA: The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 36(2), Fall.
2015
“Association for Asian Studies Conference”. HIMALAYA: The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 35(2). http://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2248&context=himalaya

“Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison, WI, 17-19 October 2014”. HIMALAYA: The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 35(1), Summer. http://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/himalaya/vol35/iss1/17/

Photo Essays and Opinion Pieces

2017
“The Pragmatism of Sino-Nepali Humanitarianism”. East Asia Forum. May. www.eastasiaforum.org
2016
“Photo Essay: A Himalayan Border Trilogy: The Political Economies of Transport Infrastructure and Disaster Relief between China and Nepal”. Cross-Currents: East Asian Culture and History Review eJournal, (18) March 2016. Available at https://cross-currents.berkeley.edu/e-journal/issue-18/murton
2015
“The Hills of Nepal Are Crying But Why Aren’t We Listening?” Guest blog, Savage Minds, May 4, 2015. http://savageminds.org/?s=Galen+Murton
2015
“Taking the Long View on Recovery in Nepal”. Guest Commentary op-ed, The Denver Post. May 2, 2015. http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_28023254/long-view-nepal
2009
“Tibet’s sunset, China’s sunrise; I: Dust of Lhasa swept under new construction,” Global Post, September 25, 2009; http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/study-abroad/090925/tibets-sunset-chinas-sunrise.
2009
“Tibet’s sunset, China’s sunrise; II: From road and rail, to market and military,” Global Post, October 27 2009; http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/study-abroad/091020/tibets-sunset-chinas-sunrise.

Contact:
Highland Asia Research Group
LMU, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oettingenstr. 67
80538 Munich, Germany

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