Rupak Shrestha

Assistant Professor

International Studies

Rupak Shrestha

Assistant Professor

International Studies

Areas of interest

• Migration
• Refugees
• Indigeneity
• Security and Surveillance
• Political Geography
• Borders and Belonging
• Global Asia


Rupak Shrestha is an Assistant Professor of International Studies and Global Asia. He is a political geographer primarily interested in questions of sovereignty, territory, indigeneity, power/violence, borders, and placemaking in South Asia and in diasporic spaces globally. His research is centered around the question: How is sovereignty realized in the everyday? For this, he ethnographically engages with visual methodologies (photography and film) that create possibilities for multiple ways of seeing, knowing, and belonging in the world.

His ongoing research is situated among Himalayan Indigenous peoples and Tibetan refugees, who share memories of kinship and intimate partnerships that shape the communal pasts and futures of these two groups. He has written how 1) in “securing development” funds and aspiring to join the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, the Nepali state surveils and constructs a discursive other in the Tibetan refugee population; 2) Tibetan forms of belonging in the diaspora are conditioned by intimate relations with place that produce multiple meanings of home and origins; and 3) Tibetans and Himalayan Indigenous peoples engage in collective amnesia and memory to negotiate citizenship and development.

He has co-authored with Dr. Jennifer Fluri on two writings to examine 1) the everyday experiences of US influence in Afghanistan and Chinese influence in Nepal to show how logics of development, security, and surveillance situate racialized and gendered bodies as suspicious; and 2) their respective field sites in Nepal and Afghanistan to illustrate common and disparate uses of humour during times of precarity, violence, and displacement.

His teaching philosophy centers on the radical acceptance of difference, which draws from his training in critical social theory, feminist methodologies, and ethnographic sensibilities. In his teaching, he promotes active and self-reflexive learning environments that value varied life experiences so that he and the students can work together in accepting differences and questioning implicit and naturalized biases. He has previously taught at Macalester College, Eckerd College, and the University of Colorado Boulder. 


Shrestha, Rupak (2023). Territorial futures: On belonging, caste, and pedagogy. Dialogues in Human Geography13(3), 505-508.

Shrestha, Rupak (2022). Affective borderings: Sovereignty and Tibetan refugee placemaking at the Nepal/China Borderlands. Political Geography, 99.

Shrestha, Rupak, and Fluri, Jennifer (2022). Geopolitics of security and surveillance in Nepal and Afghanistan: A comparative analysis. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space41(1), 92-108.

Shrestha, Rupak, and Fluri, Jennifer (2021). Geopolitics of Humour and Development in Nepal and Afghanistan. In The Palgrave Handbook of Humour Research, edited by Elisabeth Vanderheiden and Claude-Hélène Mayer. Palgrave Macmillan. 189-203.

Shrestha, Rupak (2021). Book Review of Geocultural power: China's quest to revive the silk roads for the twenty-first century, by Tim Winter. Eurasian Geography and Economics, 63 (6).


Future courses may be subject to change.