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Accueil > Membres > Associés et Invités

VIROULAUD Lucile

Doctor in anthropology
Contact : lucile.viroulaud@orange.fr
Current research : changes in a Christian community in Magar country, a Tibeto-Burman population in Tanahun district, western Nepal.

Research experience : my interests lie in studying a movement to convert a Magar village in Tanahun district, western Nepal, to Christianity. In 1993, I carried out a first series of fieldwork to observe the reaction of these villagers—the majority of whom are Hindu—to the opening of a protestant health care centre in the 1970s, and their interactions with the lamas’ (traditional healers) practices. Then, during my PhD, which I obtained in 2004, I broadened my scope of research to study conversions to the same Evangelic church within two Magar groups : Magars from the south in Tanahun district and Magars from the north in Rukkum district, northwestern Nepal. The enquiries I carried out in these areas over a period of several months, thanks to funding from the Centre for Himalayan Studies, Villejuif, allowed to me to establish that Christian practices took the form of ancient possession worships which were specific to traditional healers, lamas. Broadly speaking, Christianisation appeared as the creation of a group which, by integrating the elements of its ancient system of Hindu beliefs into a shamanistic backdrop, revitalises local particularities. This movement, although deep-rooted, is only still developing very slowly. In 2015, I pursued my research in the field over a period of a few weeks among the Magars in the southern community. In spite of ten years of civil war, the movement to convert to Christianity has remained stable and has indeed extended to outlying urban places. Conducting research on the changes in religious practices in Magar country will help evaluate the continuities and the changes in Christian status within a village, the transformations that Christianisation implies from a social and political point of view, given that conversions are still stigmatized according to the new Nepalese Constitution’s legal provisions.

Keywords : Magar, Christianity, shamanism, Hinduism, ethnic movements.