Photo Credit: Kurt Brownell

Ernestine McHugh

Professor Emerita of Anthropology and Religion

Associate Professor of Anthropology, The College
Senior Instructor in Community and Preventive Medicine, The Medical School




Photo Credit: Kurt Brownell


BA, University of California-Santa Cruz; PhD, University of California-San Diego. Research interests in comparative religion and cultural anthropology. Specialization in Asia, with extended field research in the Himalayas. Articles and reviews in The Anthropology of Tibet and the Himalaya, Comparative Studies in Society and History, The Encyclopedia of World Cultures, American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Kailash, and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Awards from National Endowment for the Humanities (1976, 1995), Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (1980), National Science Foundation (1980), National Institute for Mental Health (1986), and Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture (1992). Faculty member, University of California-San Diego (1988-90); Pitzer College, Claremont Colleges (1990-93); Eastman (1993-).

Works / Publications


Love and Honor in the Himalayas: Coming to Know Another Culture. University of Pennsylvania Press. 2001.

Contributing editor

Contributions to a Feminist Psychological Anthropology. A special issue of Ethos: The Journal of Psychological Anthropology. 32(4), December, 2004.



“Holiness in Practice: Coming to Know a Yogini.” In Bridges to Humanity, Grindal, Bruce and Frank Salome, eds. Forthcoming February 2006.

“From Margin to Center: ‘Tibet’ as a Feature of Gurung Identity.” In Tibetan Borderlands: Proceedings of the 10th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, P. Christiaan Klieger, editor. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers. Forthcoming November 2005

“Medusa’s Hair: A Quiet Revolution.” Published as part of a tribute to Gananath Obeyesekere, in honor of his 75th Birthday, in “Midweek Magazine” of the Colombo based Sri Lankan daily, The Island, February 2, 2005.

“Moral Choices and Global Desires: Feminine Identity in a Transnational Realm,” Ethos: The Journal of Psychological Anthropology. 32(4):575-597, December, 2004.

“Paradox, Ambiguity and Play: Reflections on a Narrative from Nepal.” Anthropology and Humanism. 29(1):22-33, June, 2004.

“Encountering the Forest Man: Feminine Experience, Imaginary Others and the Disjunctions of Patriarchy in Nepal.” Ethos: The Journal of Psychological Anthropology. 30(1):77-94. March-June, 2002.

“Contingent Selves: Love and Death in a Buddhist Society.” Cultural Anthropology 17(2):210-245. May, 2002.

“Sliding, Shifting, and Re-drawing Boundaries.” European Bulletin of Himalayan Research 20/21. Autumn 2001.

“Situating Persons: Constructions of Honor in Gurung Society.” In Selves in Time and Place: Identities, Experience and History in Nepal. Skinner, Debra, Alfred Pach III, and Dorothy Holland, eds., pp. 155-173. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 1998.

“Reconstituting the Self in a Tibetan Tradition: Models of Death and the Practice of Mourning in the Himalayas.” In Tibetan Studies; Proceedings of the 7th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies. Volume II. Ernst Steinkeller, ed., pp. 633-639. Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna. 1997.

“Culture and the Transformation of Suffering among the Gurungs of Nepal.” In The Anthropology of Tibet and the Himalayas. Martin Brauen and Charles Ramble, eds. Zurich: Ethnographic Museum Press. 1993.

“Dialogue, Structure, and Change: Six Recent Books in Himalayan Anthropology.” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 34(3):52-59, July 1992.

“The Gurungs.” Encyclopedia of World Culture. Volume II; South Asia. Paul Hockings, ed. pp. 93-95. Boston: G.K.Hall and Co. 1992.

“Concepts of the Person among the Gurungs of Nepal.” American Ethnologist, 16(1):77-86, 1989.

“The Women of Tebas: Feminine Perspectives in Gurung Culture.” Kailash: A Journa1 of Himalayan Studies, 8(1-2)45:69. 1981.



Other Worlds: Notions of Self and Emotion Among the Lohorung Rai by Charlotte Hardman. Transcultural Psychiatry. 2002.

New Directions in Psychological Anthropology. Edited by Theodore Schwartz, Geoffrey White, and Catherine Lutz. American Ethnologist, 25(1):28. February 1998.

Prey into Hunter: The Politics of Religious Experience by Maurice Bloch. American Ethnologist, 22(4): 1004. August, 1995.

Illness Beliefs and Feeding the Dead in Hindu Nepal by Linda Stone. Medical Anthropology Ouarterly, 5(4):416
17. December 1991.

Himalayan Dialogue: Tibetan Lamas and Gurung Shamans in Nepal by Stan Royal Mumford. American Anthropologist. 93(2):468-469. June, 1991.

The Gender of the Gift by Marilyn Strathern and Marriage and Inequality in Classless Societies by Jane Collier. In Signs: Journal of Women In Culture and Society, 17(1):210-213. Autumn, 1991.

Order in Paradox: Myth, Ritual, and Exchange among Nepal’s Tamang by David H. Holmberg. American Ethnologist 17(3):579. August, 1990.