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Austin Lord


Austin Lord is a PhD Student of Sociocultural Anthropology whose research interests include disaster and aftermath, the political ecology of infrastructure development, anticipation and futurity, the conceptualization of risk and resilience, and the lived experience of uncertainty and environmental change in Nepal. His scholarship has been published in a variety of academic journals, including Economic Anthropology; Modern Asian Studies; Eurasian Geography and Economics; Himalaya: The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies; and Limn.

Austin’s dissertation research at Cornell will analyze the re-enactment of imagined futures in post-earthquake Nepal, investigating the ways that development agendas focused on hydropower development, Nepal-China connectivity, environmental governance, tourism, and resilience are entangled with lived experiences of post-disaster recovery in the north-central district of Rasuwa.

Prior to joining Cornell, Austin has worked as a research consultant for a variety of organizations, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), and Lutheran World Relief. In the wake of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Austin served for two years as the Director of a volunteer initiative named Rasuwa Relief.

Austin holds a Master of Environmental Science (MESc) from Yale University and a B.A. in Economics and Studio Art from Dartmouth College. He has received a U.S Fulbright Scholarship and a U.S. Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowship, among other awards. A collection of his visual ethnographic work can be found at


disaster studies, temporality, environmental anthropology, water and energy, infrastructure, science and technology studies, risk and uncertainty, resilience, memory, visual ethnography, Himalayan Studies


  • Anthropology


Peer Reviewed Publications


Lord, A. (2018) Speculation and Seismicity: Reconfiguring the Hydropower Future in Post-Earthquake Nepal. Water, Technology and the Nation State, Eds. F. Menga & E. Swyngedouw. London: Routledge Earthscan. [Link]

Lord, A. (2017) Humility and Hubris in Hydropower. Limn, Vol 9 (Online). [Link]

Lord, A. and Murton, G. (2017) Becoming Rasuwa Relief: Practices of Multiple Engagement in Post-Earthquake Nepal. HIMALAYA: The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 37(2), pp. 87-102. [Link]

Murton, G., Lord, A., and Beazley, R. (2016) “A Handshake Across the Himalayas": Chinese Investment, Hydropower Development, and State Formation in Nepal. Eurasian Geography and Economics 57(3), pp. 403-432. [Link]

Lord, A. (2016) Citizens of a Hydropower Nation: Territory and Agency at the Frontiers of Hydropower Development in Nepal. Economic Anthropology 3(1), pp. 145–160. [Link]

Shneiderman, S., Wagner, L., Rinck, J., Johnson, A.L., and Lord, A. (2016) “Nepal's Ongoing Political Transformation: A Review of Post-2006 Literature on Conflict, the State, Identities, and Environments.” Modern Asian Studies 50(6), pp. 2041-2114. [Link]

Lord, A. (2014) Making a "Hydropower Nation": Subjectivity, Work, and Mobility in the Hydroscapes of Nepal. HIMALAYA: The Journal of the Association for Nepal & Himalayan Studies, 34(2), pp. 111-121. [Link]

Other Publications

Lord, A. (2017) Review of ‘Trembling Mountain’, by Kesang Tseten (Shunyata Films, 2017).” HIMALAYA: The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 37(2). [Link]

Lord, A. (2017) 水电国公民:尼泊尔水利发展前沿中的地域性与能动性 [Translation of Lord, A. 2016. ‘Citizens of a Hydropower Nation: Territory and Agency at the Frontiers of Hydropower Development in Nepal’ in Economic Anthropology]. Book Chapter in 环喜马拉雅区域研究编译 文集 Vol.1——环境、生计与文化 or Trans-Himalayan Study Reader, Vol. 1: Environment, Livelihood and Culture. Eds. D.S. Yu, L. Yunxia, and Z. Li. Beijing: Academy Press. [link]

Lord, A. and Moktan, S. (2017) Uncertain Aftermath: The Political Impacts of the 2015 Earthquakes in Nepal. Chapter in ACCORD Issue 26: Two Steps Forward One Step Back: The Nepal Peace Process, eds. D. Thapa and A. Ramsbotham. London: Conciliation Resources. [Link]

Lord, A., Sijapati, B., Baniya, J., Chand, O., and Ghale, T. (2016) Disaster, Disability, & Difference: A Study of the Challenges Faced by Persons with Disabilities in Post-Earthquake Nepal. Kathmandu: United Nations Development Programme. [Link]

Shrestha, P., Lord, A., Shrestha, R., and Mukherji, A. (2016) Benefit Sharing and Sustainable Hydropower: Lessons from Nepal. International Center for Integrated Mountain Development: Kathmandu. (Link)

Rest, M., Lord, A., and Butler, C. (2015) “The Damage Done and the Dams to Come.” Cultural Anthropology website, Hotspots. October 19, 2015. [Link]

Lord, A. (2015) “Langtang.” Cultural Anthropology website, Hotspots. October 19, 2015. [Link]