Lecturer, course coordinator and supervisor at Scool of Global Studies
Steering commitee member Gendering Asia Network, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS)/ Copenhagen University
Fluent in English, Nepali (and writes Devanagari), Tamang (fair)
Many years of experience of fieldwork in Nepal and India
Give public lectures
Areas of interest;
Critical studies of sex trafficking and anti trafficking interventions/ migraton for sex work, remittances, return migration and everyday life/ gender/ agency/ body politics/ medical anthropology/ honour related discrimination and violence/ Nepal, India, Sweden
BOMBAY GOING: Migration, return and anti-trafficking in the lives of Nepali migrant sex workers
Set against the background of a critical examination of anti-trafficking organisations’ dominant discourses of sex trafficking in the Nepali context, this Social Anthropological study funded by the Swedish development agency SIDA-SAREC, provides an ethnographic account of how Tamang women and men in the Sindhupalchowk district, defined by these organisations as severely affected by sex trafficking, understand what they define as “Bombay going” or migration for sex work. The main motivation for this endeavour is that very little, if anything, has been said about sex trafficking and anti-trafficking efforts from the perspective of Tamang women besides the studies based on the rehabilitation and reintegration programmes led by anti-trafficking organisations that concentrate exclusively on the women’s identity as victims. The study focuses on women’s agency and the meaning they ascribe to their roles as sex workers in the migratory process in the present and the past. It investigates how they carve out a space for themselves and create relatedness in the places between which they move—their house in the rural area in Nepal and the brothels in Mumbai that temporarily serve as their homes during their absence. Of central importance is the women’s return to their natal or conjugal house after years of sex work in the red light district and their lived everyday lives as wives, mothers, daughters, etc.
In stark contrast to the dominant discourse among the anti-trafficking organisations, the Tamang women in this study returned of their own accord and were reintegrated into their native villages. It also demonstrates that their migration to Mumbai was driven by the intention of return from the very start. During their years abroad, the women felt a strong sense of belonging to and maintained their membership to their natal houses, through social, religious and financial contributions of “Bombay wealth”, through return visits and strong and well-established networks between the brothels in Mumbai and their homes in Nepal. Moreover, through their contributions from sex work Tamang women have created significant personal and structural social changes in their places of origin regarding gendered roles, family relations, marriage practices, mortuary rituals and religious practices and inheritance rights.
A multisited ethnographic fieldwork was carried out over a period of fifteen months with several return visits during the years after the fieldwork period, in both Nepal and India. However, the main part of the fieldwork was conducted in the Sindhupalchowk district, northeast of Kathmandu, mainly inhabited by the Tamang ethnic group. Additionally, fieldwork was carried out at the brothels in the red light districts of Mumbai and Kolkata, and interviews were conducted with INGOs and NGOs in Kathmandu working with anti-trafficking initiatives in Nepal.
Post-sex trafficking, gender, rehabilitation and health in Nepal
The project was conducted under ”The Global University” (”Det Globala Universitetet”) within a multidisciplinary platform
project (The Sahlgrenska Academy, Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Social Sciences, Nordic School of Public Health, IT University at Chalmers)”Strengthening Health Education, Supporting Research, Monitoring Health in Nepal”. Funded by Gothenburg University. A
first period of fieldwork in Kathmandu, Nepal within the research project during 20110630-20110806. A second period of fieldwork was conducted in Kathmandu and Sindhupalchowk 20120103-20120208 and a third period of fieldwork between 20130126-20130321. A final fieldwork period was conducted during a one month long period in the summer of 2014.
Within and part of the project “Collaboration between University of Gothenburg and Nepali Institutions: Strengthening health education, Supporting Research, Monitoring Health” funded
by University of Gothenburg - education and research cooperation between University of Gothenburg and Tribhuwan University, among other Nepali universities and additional Nepali institutions and programs. The cooperation covers students, teachers, and
administrative personnel and provides a transdisciplinary approach in research and teaching. Education cooperation between Susanne Åsman, School of Globals Studies and Gender Study Program Tribhuwan/ Kathmandu University in Kathmandu, and the development of a course related to the thematic field ”Method and gender” including one to two weeks of fieldwork practice for master students at the Gender Study Program. Four master students have also been involved and supervised by Susanne Åsman in the research project; ”Post-sex trafficking, gender, rehabilitation and health in Nepal”.
Rumour communication and honour related violence
Research assistance during one year between 2012 and 2013 in “Children and their growth in an environment with honour and
rumour communication in Sweden” (“Barns uppväxt i hemmiljö med heder och rykteskommunikation i Sverige) a project within the Social Anthropological project “Rumour communication and honour related violence: A forensic anthropology study”
(”Rykteskommunikation och hedersvåld: en rättsantropologisk undersökning”). Funded by Siftelsen Lars Groschinskys Minnesfond.
Teach and supervise at the undergraduate level, School of Global Studies, Gothenburg University;
Teach at and course coordinator of the courses;
”Gender and sexuality across cultures”(Master course), ”Culture and sexuality in modern Swedish society”(Erasmus course), "Trafficking…", ”Method in socialanthropology” (Socialantropologisk metod), ”Asia rising ( Det moderna Asiens framväxt) ”Asia and globalization” (Asien och globaliseringen)